In Md., Biden Leads Money Chase, Sanders Has Most Donors

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Money in politics always tells a story.

It’s examined in breathless horse-race analyses. Also in detailed examinations of influence.

And in to the 2020 presidential election, monetary contributions are a barometer of candidate support that decides who in the crowded Democratic field will appear in nationally televised debates and who will not.

Even the smallest of donations – $1, candidates promised – would help bolster their campaigns and help them make their way to the stage.

In Maryland, nearly 125,000 donations were made to candidates through June 30, sometimes by the same donor more than once. Sometimes the same donor gave to more than one candidate.

More than half of the donations in the state were a sawbuck or less.

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised the most: $758,197.02.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg comes next, bringing in $642,375.26.

However, both of them combined haven’t achieved the number of donations that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has in the state: more than 30,295 since January. Sanders’ fundraising in particular includes dozens of donors who gave to his campaign dozens of times, often in small amounts.

The figures – which cover Jan. 1 to June 30 – come from a report produced by Center for Public Integrity and FiveThirtyEight, which recently combined the campaign finance numbers from Federal Elections Commission filings and Internal Revenue Service reports from ActBlue – a major nonprofit Democratic fundraising force – to give a detailed look at small-dollar donors.

When the IRS data is combined with information from the FEC, where donations less than $200 don’t have to be individually reported, it is possible to track between 94 percent of individual donations made to most Democratic candidates.

In Maryland, identifiable individual donors gave $4,388,035.04 to 23 Democratic candidates.

The Democratic National Committee guidelines to take part in Thursday night’s 10-person debate required candidates to receive at least 2 percent support in approved polls and raise money from at least 130,000 unique donors with at least 400 unique donors in 20 states.

Eight of the ten candidates who will appear on stage were top fundraisers in Maryland.

Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee raised $130,488.98 and $81,883.72, in the state respectively. Delaney is still in the race, while Inslee suspended his campaign last month.

Two candidates appearing on stage who raised less than them in Maryland are entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who raised $78,893.83 in the state, and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, who raised $71,801.38.

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Danielle E. Gaines
Danielle Gaines covered government and politics for Maryland Matters for two years before moving into an editing position. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post ― as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at The Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.


  1. If number of donors equates to number of voters it looks like Sanders takes Maryland by huge margin. The workers have been getting a raw deal for a long time. That is going to end.


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