Elizabeth Warren raises $24.6 million in third quarter

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $24.6 million over the past three months, her campaign said Friday morning, falling just short of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ massive haul.

Warren’s momentum in the polls, in which she has emerged as a front-runner alongside former Vice President Joe Biden, has been mirrored by a continued rise in small dollar fundraising. She brought in only $6 million during a disappointing first quarter, then jumped to $19.1 million in the second before a breakout summer that saw her outpace Biden by more than $9 million.

Earlier in the week, Sanders announced a $25.3 million third quarter total, which set the pace for the 2020 Democratic field. Warren landed just shy of that number, but is well-positioned now to expand her campaign, which has $25.7 million in cash-on-hand, according to the campaign, as the first round of caucuses and primaries approach.

Campaign manager Roger Lau, in an email to supporters, said more than 500,000 people made more than 940,000 contributions to the campaign during the third quarter. The majority of those donors — 300,000 — gave to Warren for the first time during that period, Lau said, for an average contribution of $26. Since she entered the race on New Year’s Eve, an estimated 750,000 people have given to Warren’s campaign.

Warren’s impressive total underscores the power of small dollar donors in the 2020 Democratic contest. Both she and Sanders have forsworn high-dollar fundraisers, but combined, they outraised Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, all of whom have tapped wealthy donors, by $4 million this quarter: $49.9 million to $45.9 million.

Lau in his email also drew attention to the fact that Warren has focused exclusively on grassroots fundraising — a decision the campaign made when it parted ways with its first finance director at the end of March.

“Elizabeth didn’t sell her time to wealthy donors, over the phone or in person at closed-door fundraisers. She didn’t take any money from Washington lobbyists, corporate PACs, or PACs of any kind,” Lau wrote. “Celebrate. Say ‘woo-hoo!’ (quietly, if you need to, depending on where you’re reading this). Put on your favorite Elizabeth Warren t-shirt. Text a friend to share the good news. Close your eyes and picture Wall Street bankers scowling into their catered breakfast.”

Heading into the end of 2019, Warren is preparing to launch television ads for the first time in all four early primary and caucus states. The eight-figure TV and digital buy in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina includes at least three new ads that center on the theme of Warren’s campaign: rooting out corruption in Washington. It is unclear when the spots will begin to air.

Lau noted in an email announcing the new spending that the campaign’s biggest expense in late September was staff, but that he expected media spending would soon eclipse it. A larger bulk of that expenditure would go toward digital ads, he said.