Democrats are crushing Republicans in fundraising as campaign hits the final stretch

Key Points
  • ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising website, processed $1.5 billion in donations from July to September.
  • All of this comes as Democratic nominee Joe Biden is ahead of President Donald Trump in most national and some swing state polls.
  • Democrats taking on Republican senators in close races are also dominating the fundraising game.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks at a Voter Mobilization Event campaign stop at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., October 12, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters

Democrats easily outraised Republicans during the third quarter, beefing up their money advantage as polls increasingly indicate a potential blue wave on Election Day.

ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising website, processed $1.5 billion in donations spanning the July-September period. Small-dollar donors gave over $750 million in September alone. To compare, GOP fundraising site WinRed processed over $620 million in donations during that same time period.

Democrats taking on Republican senators in races deemed "lean Democrat" or "toss-up" are also dominating their opponents in the fundraising game.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced late Wednesday that his campaign brought in $383 million during September, slightly more than he raised in his record-smashing August. His campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, tweeted that the campaign had over $400 million going into October. Biden has an approximate 10-point national lead over President Donald Trump, according to polling averages.

There is at least one bright spot when it comes to Republican fundraising down the stretch of the election. The pro-Trump super PAC Preserve America raised just over $83 million in the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission records. The fundraising success was largely off of $75 million in big money contributions from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and his wife Miriam.

CNBC previously reported that Sheldon Adelson was plotting a last minute spending blitz in support of Trump and that he was eyeing up to $50 million in contributions. He ended up giving $37.5 million to the super PAC last month.

Record numbers of people have already voted. Election Day is Nov. 3.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign did not reply to a request for comment. Late Thursday night, the campaign said it, along with joint committees, raised $247.8 million in September.

Democrats reaped large gains during multiple events, such as the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. ActBlue had its biggest fundraising day ever the day after Ginsburg died, processing just over $70 million.

Other key moments include the August announcement that Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. She had an immediate cash impact, with her allies in the business community jumping in to help Biden's campaign raise cash. Just before the quarter ended in September, Biden's debate performance versus Trump helped raise at least $25 million for Democrats.

Trump, meanwhile, has continued to face criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He has returned to the campaign trail after recovering from Covid-19.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, October 13, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The enthusiasm for Democratic Senate candidates led to a good chunk of the fundraising haul. Republicans hold a 53-47 lead in the chamber, but they are defending several more seats than Democratic candidates this year.

In South Carolina, Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Colorado and Montana, Democrats combined to raise over $200 million over the past three months. All six of those states have been deemed either "lean Democrat" or toss-ups by the Cook Political Report.

In South Carolina, Democrat Jaime Harrison raised $57 million in the third quarter, while his opponent, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, brought in $28 million. For Graham, it's the most he's ever had to raise when trying to defend his Senate seat. A Democrat hasn't held the seat since the 1960s.

In Arizona, astronaut Mark Kelly said he brought in more than $38 million. The campaign said on Thursday that it will be going into the final month of the election with nearly $19 million on hand. It remains unclear how much his opponent, GOP Sen. Martha McSally, raised.