POLITICS: Trump Leads Biden in Number of Small Donors
Former President Donald J. Trump was trailing President Biden in overall campaign cash on hand at the end of 2023, but he dominated fund-raising last year by at least one critical measure: his number of small donors. An analysis of Federal Election Commission data by The New York Times shows that about 668,000 donors gave less than $200 to Mr. Trump, compared with 564,000 for Mr. Biden.
Small donors have always been intrinsic to Mr. Trump’s political momentum. Not only have they powered his three presidential bids, but they are also a vital measure of his broad appeal to an immovable grass-roots base. Most large donors have so far kept their distance from Mr. Trump this cycle.
Mr. Biden, in contrast, has drawn ample support from big donors, who are not reflected in this dataset. One measure of voter enthusiasm is strong support from small donors. Individual donors can give repeatedly, up to $3,300 to a candidate’s campaign fund for a primary, and another $3,300 for the general election.
Mr. Trump also has more small donors than Mr. Biden in the critical battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, The Times analysis shows.
There are a few factors that could help explain Mr. Trump’s lead. First, Mr. Trump started his presidential bid in late 2022, and had a running start into 2023, while Mr. Biden did not formally declare that he was seeking re-election until April.
Mr. Trump has also benefited from an unusual set of circumstances: His two biggest fund-raising moments of 2023 came on the days that state officials in New York and Georgia charged and booked him, in April and in August. The criminal cases against him have served as catalysts for his fund-raising operation.