Politics

Democrats score a fundraising windfall during the DNC, and Biden bundlers see new commitments

Key Points
  • The virtual Democratic National Convention led to a windfall in contributions to Democrats up and down the ballot, suggesting a surge in enthusiasm for nominees Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris. 
  • The total haul for just those two days alone came close to at least $40 million. 
  • Bundlers helping Biden raise campaign cash told CNBC throughout the week they are seeing new commitments from business executives who were originally on the fence about giving six-figure checks. 
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator and Democratic candidate for Vice President Kamala Harris celebrate after Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 20, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

The virtual Democratic National Convention led to a windfall in contributions to Democrats up and down the ballot, suggesting a surge in enthusiasm for presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. 

Over the convention's final two nights, CNBC tracked the donations by monitoring Democratic fundraising site ActBlue's real-time tracker. From the start of Wednesday's presentation until Friday morning, ActBlue racked up at least $40 million in donations.

Bundlers helping Biden raise campaign cash told CNBC throughout the week they were seeing new commitments from business executives who were originally on the fence about giving six-figure checks. These people declined to be named as these conversations were deemed private. 

Representatives for ActBlue and the Biden campaign did not return a request for comment. 

On Wednesday night, with speeches featuring Harris, former President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the site raised approximately $5 million. Between the end of Wednesday night's event and the start of Thursday night's, it raised approximately $20 million. 

Democrats saw another jump in contributions on Thursday night going into the next morning. That event celebrated Biden, with speeches by former presidential candidates Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg, along with tributes by the former vice president's children and grandchildren. From the start of the final night until the end of Biden's acceptance speech, ActBlue raised close to an additional $5 million. From the time Biden's speech ended until Friday morning, it raised at least $10 million. 

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Pollster Frank Luntz breaks down what worked and didn't work in Biden's DNC speech

It's the latest total fundraising success by Democrats, including since Harris was chosen as Biden's running mate. The New York Times previously reported that ActBlue processed $30 million in contributions in the first 24 hours after Harris joined the ticket. The Biden campaign itself raised $26 million over that same period following Biden's selection of Harris. 

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Democrats have been trying to overtake the fundraising war chest held by President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee. Biden and the Democratic National Committee outraised Trump and the RNC in the second quarter, with the Democrats raking in $282 million and the GOP pulling in $266 million. However in July, Trump and the RNC came back and beat out Biden. 

Still, one of the benefits Democrats have historically had on their side when it comes to fundraising is ActBlue, which was established over a decade ago. Republicans recently launched a platform called WinRed to counter ActBlue. 

ActBlue's latest Federal Election Commission records show that they raised over $200 million in July alone. Data collected by ProPublica shows that over the course of that month, Biden saw close to $40 million in contributions through the site. He received over 1 million contributions via ActBlue with an average donation of $36.75. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee saw $7.7 million through over 325,000 contributions with each donation averaging almost $23. 

While WinRed doesn't file monthly totals, its second-quarter filing, which tracked fundraising between April and June, shows it helped raise $280 million for Republican candidates, including Trump. 

A spokesman for the Trump campaign and WinRed did not return a request for comment. 

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Best moments from the Democratic National Convention