With the constant news of an ever-expanding 2020 Democratic primary, it’s easy to forget that there is also a Trump reelection campaign underway. But not only is the Trump 2020 campaign going, it’s apparently going hard. The Associated Press reports that the Trump campaign raised $30 million in the first quarter, outpacing the hauls of the top two Democratic candidates combined.
In total, Trump’s 2020 campaign now has $40.8 million on hand. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is—it’s an unprecedented sum for a reelection campaign to raise this far out from the election.
It seems that most of Trump’s money came from small donors. The campaign says that almost 99 percent of donations were for $200 or less, and the average donation size was $34.26.
The Republican National Committee has cleaned up as well, bringing in $45.8 million in the first quarter.
Of course, Trump has had much longer to build momentum than the other campaigns. He famously launched his reelection bid almost the moment he took office in 2017. Most of his potential challengers’ campaigns are only a few months old.
But this is still a huge amount of money for any reelection campaign to raise this quickly. Obama had only $2 million in the bank as this point in his reelection campaign. He went on to raise $720 million, while Trump is aiming for $1 billion even.
Trump’s fundraising with the RNC is divided between two entities: Trump Victory, the joint account used for high-dollar gifts, and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, the low-dollar digital fundraising operation known internally as “T-Magic.” The campaign is set to launch a traditional “bundling” program — which it lacked in 2016 — in the coming weeks. Bundlers are mid-tier donors who bring in contributions from their associates.
Together, the Trump entities have raised a combined $165.5 million since 2017.
Trump campaign manager Brad Pascale told AP that Trump “is in a vastly stronger position at this point than any previous incumbent president running for re-election, and only continues to build momentum.”
On the Democratic side, donations are split between the many, many contenders. Bernie Sanders brought in the biggest haul for the first quarter, with $18 million, followed by Kamala Harris with $12 million, and Beto O’Rourke with $9.4 million. On Friday, a Washington Post article reported that there is still no clear Democratic frontrunner.
Trump’s campaign will apparently direct all $30 million of their new earnings towards maintaining and building their email list. They have also expanded their headquarters in Virginia and say they are planning to develop an app.
In 2015, Trump ran largely using his own money—$66 million of it—but in this cycle, he’s yet to spend any of his personal wealth on his campaign.
These numbers are alarming, but before you panic, remember that it will be difficult for any Democrat to outshine Trump on fundraising. He was one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world even before he became president, and now he has the largest platform on Earth with which to promote himself. His first quarter total should serve as a sobering reminder of what 2020 Democratic contenders are up against, but it’s still very early, and anything is possible.