The Democratic presidential candidates raised a combined $58 million in January and spent even more, according to monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The filings, which cover the period from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31, illustrate the extreme pressure that the candidates were under in the lead-up to the the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
Together, they spent nearly $357 million over the course of January, with the vast majority of that coming from former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergNevada Democratic debate draws record-breaking 19.7 million viewers ‘Where’s your spoon?’ What we didn’t learn in the latest debate Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against ‘misogynist trope’ MORE and activist Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerKlobuchar rolls out ads in Super Tuesday states Poll: Democrats trail Trump in Wisconsin, lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania Bloomberg, Sanders, Biden beat Trump in head-to-heads in North Carolina: poll MORE, two billionaires who are largely self-funding their campaigns.
Here are five takeaways from the latest FEC Democratic reports:
Sanders’s fundraising machine is unmatched
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNevada Democratic debate draws record-breaking 19.7 million viewers ‘Where’s your spoon?’ What we didn’t learn in the latest debate Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against ‘misogynist trope’ MORE (I-Vt.) expanded his fundraising lead over top rivals in January, raking in more than $25.1 million over the course of the month.
And with the exception of the field’s two billionaire candidates, Sanders outspent the field as well, dropping more than $26 million.
That’s more than the combined January spending of two other top-tier candidates, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden‘Where’s your spoon?’ What we didn’t learn in the latest debate Sanders nabs endorsement from Congressional Hispanic Caucus member Poll: Sanders holds 7-point lead in crucial California primary MORE and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegChasten Buttigieg: ‘I’ve been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life’ San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg ‘Where’s your spoon?’ What we didn’t learn in the latest debate MORE.
Sanders still spent more than he took in over the course of the month. But he burned through cash at a slower pace than any of his rivals, again with the exception of Bloomberg and Steyer.
What’s more, the January financial report doesn’t capture the burst of momentum Sanders has seen in the wake of his top performances in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11. If the polling surge he has seen in recent weeks translates to fundraising, February is shaping up to be an even better month for the Vermont senator.
Bloomberg spent more than $7 million a day on his campaign
In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign. That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.
For context, the former New York City mayor, who is worth more than $50 billion, spent in January roughly two-thirds of what former President Obama spent over the entirety of his 2012 reelection campaign.
Bloomberg’s heavy spending doesn’t stack up to the nearly $264 million he personally gave to his presidential bid in January, and he still ended the month with more than $55 million in his campaign account.
Bloomberg’s investments in his campaign — which have so far gone to blanketing the country with advertisements and building out an expansive, 2,000-person campaign staff — propelled him to the top of recent polls over a period of less than three months.
But whether he can hold that position or continue his rise remains unclear, especially after a widely panned debate performance this week in which he struggled to respond to rapid-fire criticism from his rivals.
Warren secured a $3 million line of credit
As her campaign struggled with middling poll numbers in January and a high burn rate, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg ‘Where’s your spoon?’ What we didn’t learn in the latest debate MORE (D-Mass.) took out a $3 million line of credit to ease her mounting financial strains, according to her FEC filings.
To be sure, January was a strong month for fundraising for the Massachusetts senator, who raked in about $10.4 million in contributions, the second most of any candidate after Sanders. But she burned through money twice as fast as she raised it, spending about $22.4 million over the course of the month.
In the final weeks of January, her campaign secured a $3 million line of credit. And while she accessed only about $400,000 of that total, it suggests that Warren was in a cash crunch in the lead-up to the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. She entered February with about $2.3 million in the bank.
There are signs that February is shaping up to be a better month for Warren’s finances. Her campaign said it has already raised more than $17 million this month, including more than $5 million in the day after Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.
The non-billionaire candidates spent more in January than in the first half of 2019 combined
In the first half of 2019, six candidates — Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg ‘Where’s your spoon?’ What we didn’t learn in the latest debate MORE (D-Minn.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardBloomberg, Sanders, Biden beat Trump in head-to-heads in North Carolina: poll Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll The Hill’s Campaign Report: Bloomberg to face off with rivals at Nevada debate MORE (D-Hawaii) — spent a combined $64.6 million on their presidential campaigns. In the first month of 2020, they spent nearly $20 million more than that, dropping a combined $83.3 million in a month.
The extreme acceleration in spending underscores the urgency that the campaigns felt in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the first two nominating contests seen as early indicators of a candidate’s viability.
Bloomberg and Steyer didn’t enter the primary race until the second half of 2019, and both are largely self-funding their campaigns with multibillion-dollar personal fortunes, meaning that they are not subject to the same fundraising pressures as most of their rivals.
Steyer alone spent nearly $53 million in January, while Bloomberg, one of the wealthiest men in the world, dropped nearly three times as much as his six non-billionaire rivals.
Everyone but the billionaires is spending more than they’re raising
Not including Bloomberg or Steyer, the six nonbillionaires in the Democratic presidential race can’t raise money fast enough.
Buttigieg burned through his money faster than any other candidate in the field. He brought in about $6.2 million in January and spent more than $14 million, FEC filings show, giving him a burn rate of more than 226 percent.
Warren spent money nearly as quickly. While her campaign raised the second-most of any candidate in January, she also spent the second most when the billionaires are taken out of the equation, dropping $22.4 million over the course of the month — a burn rate of more than 200 percent.
Gabbard, meanwhile, burned through her campaign cash at a rate of 168 percent, Klobuchar spent hers at a rate of 138 percent and Biden burned through his money at a rate of about 120 percent, according to the most recent FEC filings.
Sanders spent more than he raised in January. But he holds the distinction of going through campaign cash at the slowest rate of any candidate: 105 percent.