97 Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts 2020: The Ultimate List

Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts Donald Trump Mike Pence

Who will be the next US President? 

This is a question many in America and around the world are asking themselves this year. Despite the coronavirus crisis’ terrible toll on the United States and Donald Trump’s shaky popularity, the 2020 presidential candidates are raising money at a blistering pace, the Trump fundraising drive standing out in particular. 

Here are some stats about 2020 Trump fundraising, which unofficially (and then officially) started just after his election in 2016. We also include a little info about the fundraising performance of his main opponent, Joe Biden. Both make for interesting reading.

Trump fundraising by the numbers

Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts Keep America Great Again Banner

1. Trump first began spending for his 2020 reelection drive 16 days after the 2016 presidential election.

(Source: The Washington Post)

Campaigning so early was an unprecedented move designed to shore up his support, and time will tell if it was the right one. He started his campaign on November 24, 2016.

2. For the 2016 election, Donald Trump raised more small donor money than Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton combined – almost $239 million.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute) 

Small donations from individuals have historically been a field Democratic candidates have excelled in (the previous top total was by Barack Obama), so Trump’s performance among small donors must be seen as a big surprise.

3. At least seven sports team owners donated $1 million or more to Trump’s inauguration fund, including Robert Kraft (owner of the Patriots), Woody Johnson (proprietor of the Jets), Stan Kroenke (Rams owner), and Jerry Jones (Cowboys owner). 

(Source: CBS Sports)

This wasn’t Trump campaign fundraising per se, but still a sign of the support he commands among many wealthier Americans. 

4. Trump fundraising for his 2020 presidential campaign was much earlier into his presidency than his predecessors.

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

His bet was that gaining a head start on his Democratic opponents would give him a big financial advantage by the presidential Election Day in 2020. 

5. By February 1st, 2017, Trump had raised more than $7 million for his second presidential campaign –  a clear sign of the enthusiasm his candidacy and election engendered among many supporters. 

(Source: The Washington Post)

Even in 2020, 93% of Republicans would vote for him in the coming presidential election, according to one poll. 

6. In the first quarter of 2017, Trump’s reelection campaign raised more than $13 million between 3 committees. 

(Source: FoxNews Insider)

Over 80% of that came from small donations from individuals, a key source of financial backing for him ever since he announced his first presidential campaign in 2015.

7. The Trump re-election campaign saw its highest contribution total for a single day on March 17, 2017 – it and its associated joint fundraising committee raised $314,000 in total on that day. 

(Source: Newsweek)

Interestingly, this was the midst of the Russia probe against the President, showing that the investigation had the effect of causing many of his supporters to rally around him.

8. In early May 2017, the Trump campaign announced it would be spending $1.5 million on national advertisements publicizing Trump's accomplishments during his first hundred days in office.  

(Source: Politico) 

The 100 days mark has come to be seen as deeply important in US Presidential administrations, dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. It is seen as symbolizing the time during which a President can start their first major initiatives and begin to leave a mark on the nation.

9. In the modern age, presidential campaign spending requires a lot of moolah, and Donald Trump knows this better than anyone. The first official Trump campaign fundraising event was on June 28, 2017, and was attended by about 300 guests on behalf of the Trump Victory Committee. 

(Source: CNN Politics)

It was expected to gross $10 million. 

10. An October 2017 Trump fundraising event raised nearly $5 million. To take part, major donors spent sums of up to $250,000 to dine with the President.

(Source: Newsweek)

More proof that people will pay for access to power, and to those who wield it. (Source: Newsweek)

Joe Biden 2020

Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts Joe Biden

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign got off to a rocky start. Among a crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates, losses in several early Democratic primaries led many to conclude that his campaign was as doomed as Jeb Bush’s GOP one was four years before. However, he pulled off a remarkable comeback.

A strong win in the South Carolina primary on February 29 and a dominant sweep of the Super Tuesday states left him as the frontrunner on the path to the Democratic nomination, and the temporary suspension of campaigning afterwards due to the growing coronavirus crisis only benefited his campaign.

As of June 2020, Biden has officially won the Democratic primaries and seems to be in a strong position to beat President Trump in November, given the latter’s low approval ratings. Here are some stats which illustrate Biden’s fundraising prowess in 2020.

11. Joe Biden’s campaign began on April 25, 2019, when he announced his bid for the Presidency. 

(Source: The New York Times) 

This was preceded by months of consideration and speculation, as was Biden’s 2016 hesitation about possibly running then (he eventually did not join that race, a decision he likely made at least partly due to his son Beau’s death).

12. In March 2020, Biden raised $30 million more than Trump ($46.7 million in total). 

(Source: Financial Times) 

Team Biden fundraising was helped by the winding down of the Democratic campaign and the consolidation of Democrats behind his candidacy.

13. Joe Biden’s campaign raised $27.3 million on ActBlue during the first 15 days of March, during which he became the presumptive nominee, but only $8.5 million more by the end of the month. 

(Source: The New York Times) 

It seems that successful nominees get an initial fundraising boost, but that it quickly tapers.  

14. Even if the Joe Biden fundraising drive raised close to $1 million per day. 

(Source: The New York Times) 

A sign that the Trump early fundraising strategy has worked? From now until November, he would still have only barely caught up to what Donald Trump and the Republican Party had in their reserves at the start of April, as the presumptive Democratic nominee and his party are nearly $187 million behind.

15. Democrats nominated Joe Biden for President ahead of other 2020 presidential candidates despite him being outspent in the primaries.

(Source: The New York Times) 

In an internet age, it seems that despite money still being important, voters still have the chance to learn about less well funded candidates and their policies if they desire. 

History of presidential campaign fundraising

Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts Donald Trump Mike Pence

Especially in recent decades, presidential campaign spending has soared, which has in turn required massive fundraising efforts by the two major political parties to fund it. This is despite the availability of some federal campaign finance. 

Here are some stats to shed some light on the current and recent situation when it comes to election finance:

16. In the 1990s, most major Presidential candidates accepted public presidential campaign funding, although there were exceptions: independent candidate Ross Perot in 1992 and Republican Steve Forbes in 1996. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Perot notably came close to winning the state of Maine in the 1992 election. 

17. “Soft money” (campaign financing given to parties and committees rather than directly to candidates) made up nearly half of parties’ income in 2000. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

This practice allows federal restrictions on campaign financing to be circumvented. 

18. In 2000, the George W. Bush campaign spent twice what it would have been allowed to under campaign finance restrictions, while four years later he and John Kerry both spent more than $200 million for that year’s presidential election.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute) 

By 2004, the internet was becoming an important factor in Presidential elections. (Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

19. In 2008, Barack Obama rejected public financing for his presidential campaign, becoming the first major party nominee to do so.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute) 

Based on his public image, few would have guessed this.  

20. Hillary Clinton spent about as much on her 2008 presidential campaign as George W. Bush had on his re-election campaign in 2004, despite losing in the primaries, while Barack Obama raised around 50% more than Clinton – more than $315 million. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Obama notably raised a significant amount of money from small donors. 

21. In 2012, Obama raised about the same amount of money for his primary campaign as he had in 2008. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign spent almost $155 million on his candidacy. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute) 

Obama would go on to comfortably win re-election.

22. Five of the 2016 GOP candidates for that year’s presidential election raised a majority of their campaign income from donors giving the maximum allowed amount of $2,700. These were Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and George Pataki.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

These candidates’ lack of grassroots Republican support played a large part in their loss.

23. In 2016, donors giving the maximum legal amount of $2,700 accounted for more than 40% of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s primary fundraising. While a majority of Trump’s contributions came from small donors, his campaign was largely self-financed.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Some would argue that this made him more able to speak his mind on the issues he cared about.

24. In 2016, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson raised half of his income from small donors giving less than $200.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)  

After dropping out and endorsing presidential nominee Donald Trump, Carson was rewarded with a place in Trump’s cabinet. 

25. The Republican National Committee raised a smaller share of total Republican presidential campaign revenue in 2016 – 22% less than in 2008 and 16% less than in 2008.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute) 

A possible explanation is unwillingness of major Republican donors to indirectly back Trump’s candidacy. 

Democratic fundraising versus Republican fundraising

Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts Democratic VS Republican

The two major parties in the United States compete on many fronts, and one of the most important is in the field of finance and fundraising. In recent American elections, the winning candidates have largely been those whose campaigns raise the most money. This trend has only been intensified by the advent of the political action committee (PAC) and the resulting reduced importance of direct campaign contributions. Here are some stats which show how the two parties stack up when it comes to fundraising. 

26. Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and Clinton’s largest Super PAC raised more than $700 million combined by August 2016, while Trump’s campaign had raised $400 million by then. 

(Source: Huffington Post) 

Trump’s 2016 fundraising was hurt by many prominent Republicans’ refusal to support him, including Republican royalty like the Bush family. 

27. Donald Trump filed papers for his re-election campaign almost 50 months before the 2020 election. 

(Source: Wayback Machine) 

As mentioned above, his plan was to use the long period of time before the election for fundraising and campaigning purposes to help ensure a Trump win. 

28. Ronald Reagan, the two Bushes, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all filed for their re-election campaigns far later than Trump. 

(Source: Wayback Machine) 

Time will tell if Trump has set a new trend when it comes to candidates for reelection prioritizing their election finance early. 

Super PACs and the presidential campaign

Trump Fundraising Stats and Facts Super PACS

Super PACs, officially known as independent expenditure-only political action committees, are organizations devoted to raising money to spend on political activities. They are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money, but cannot directly coordinate with official candidate campaigns. 

Super PACs first came into being after two court decisions in 2010, and they have influenced the two presidential elections held since then. Here are some interesting facts and stats relating to Super PACs and how they’ve changed American politics.

29. Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC raised $171 million in election finance in 2016 from 46 donors – each gave more than $1 million.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Many wealthy donors disapproved of Donald Trump’s candidacy that year, and supported Clinton as an alternative.

30. In 2016, people giving more than $1 million in private donations were responsible for a majority of money raised by the Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker Republican presidential campaigns.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Each of these candidates attempted to present themselves as a viable alternative to Trump, but none succeeded.

31. In the 2012 elections, candidates from both major political parties – Obama, Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum – relied on Super PAC donations worth more than $1 million.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

This was the first election after the changes caused by the Citizens United (Super PAC) ruling. 

32. For the 2012 election, individual donors could donate $2,500 to promote candidates for election, slightly over $30,000 to a major national party committee per year, $10,000 to a state or local party, and $5,000 to a PAC. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Super PAC donations were unlimited. 

33. McCutcheon joint fundraising committees gave $112 million to Democratic state parties to promote candidates in 2016, as opposed to only $29 million in 2012. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

These have come to play an increasingly important role in Democratic Party financing.

34. PACs were more important for House candidates (39% of funding) than for Senate candidates (17%) in 2016.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

The House’s smaller constituencies and shorter terms make traditional fundraising less viable in the modern big-money environment, and induce candidates to raise money through PACs. 

35. In 2016, donors giving more than $1,000 gave nearly 40% of all money raised by House candidates. Small donors (giving less than $200) contributed only 6%. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

It’s likely that small donors are more likely to donate to candidates for the presidential election, as their campaigns are more visible.

36. PACs raised $441 million for 2015-16, with most coming from corporate PACs. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

It’s worth noting that corporate PACs can support both liberal and conservative causes.

37. In 2016, the vast majority (80%) of money from political action committees went to incumbent candidates, with an even greater percentage for corporate PACs.

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

For obvious reasons, people (and organizations) prefer to bet on a winner. Non-connected PACs (largely issues and ideological groups), as well as labor unions, were more likely to fund challengers. 93% of labor union contributions went to Democrats.

38. The RNC raised more than $62 million by late May 2017, including a larger online donation total than during the entirety of 2016. 

(Source: AP News) 

To the (election) winner, go the spoils. 

39. More than 14,500 Democrats are users of ActBlue, a platform for small donations from individuals, including many progressives. Its success has spurred Republicans to launch WinRed, intended to be a GOP competitor. 

(Source: Real Clear Politics) 

With Republicans’ recent populist turn, we can expect that small donations will form a greater part of their fundraising in the future.

40. WinRed is headed by Gerrit Lansing, a former top digital strategist for the RNC. He owns a 60% stake in the company, while Data Trust owns 40%. 

(Source: Politico)

Data Trust provides voter and electoral data to promote conservative candidates.

41. For the 2016 elections, Revv, a predecessor to WinRed, had for its clients the Trump campaign, the RNC, and other committees, raising roughly $650 million in campaign financing in total. Revv also had many members of Congress and governors as clients. 

(Source: Real Clear Politics) 

A sign that while the individual amounts donated might be modest, small donations loom big in party considerations. 

42. In the 2018 election cycle, Revv only raised $176 million, most of it from Trump fundraising. 

(Source: Real Clear Politics) 

Midterms usually attract less interest than Presidential election years, and Trump’s popularity was low at the time.

43. Anedot, another Republican fundraising platform, raised more than $300 million in private donations for 2018 campaigns, more than any other platform used by the party. 

(Source: Real Clear Politics) 

Its relative success can be attributed to it being well-known to many campaigns and donors. 

44. In 2018, GOP officials offered large discounts for party dues for campaign committees of members using WinRed for campaign financing purposes. 

(Source: Real Clear Politics) 

This was a controversial move.

45. During the 2018 election cycle, 60 House Democrats raised more than $1 million in campaign finance. This gave them a significant advantage in buying TV ad time. 

(Source: Real Clear Politics)

Democrats would go on to retake the House with a large majority. 

46. In the first quarter of 2019, the Trump fundraising campaign raised $30 million, far more than the Democrats running for President in that period. 

(Source: Reuters) 

The incumbent advantage in American politics is very large, with fundraising being a big reason. 

47. The average donation for Trump’s re-election campaign was $34.26, with nearly 99% of donations being less than $200. 

(Source: Reuters)

Trump’s voter base has remained very loyal to him.

48. In the first quarter of 2019, the Republican National Committee raised $45 million, more than the Trump campaign total. 

(Source: Reuters) 

Many traditional Republican donors are likely more comfortable giving to the party rather than to Trump directly.

49. For the month of April 2017, 6% of Trump election campaign spending went to Trump-owned companies – nearly $500,000. 

(Source: FoxNews Insider) 

Some saw this as a serious corruption concern.

50. The Trump 2020 campaign spent almost $900,000 in Trump Tower rent until January 2019, while the RNC spent $225,000 in campaign expenses for that purpose. 

(Source: Forbes)

The RNC considers Trump Tower as a convenient place to rent in. 

51. By law, no individual can donate more than $117,000 in campaign financing over two years to all candidates, parties and PACs. 

(Source: The Campaign Finance Institute)

Once again, this restriction does not apply to Super PACs.

FAQs 

Q: What is Trump’s current approval rating?

A: Donald Trump’s current approval rating is 41.1%, according to the FiveThirtyEight aggregator. This marks a decline of a couple of percentage points since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

Q: How do presidential campaigns raise money?

A: This happens in two major ways – through public financing from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (though few major candidates make use of it today), and through private donations (individual and corporate). 

Q: Why do you have to raise money to run for President?

A: This is necessary because presidential campaigns are very expensive, and public financing is not enough to fund them. 

Q: What do campaigns spend their money on?

A: Much of their money is spent on payroll for campaign staff, as well as other connected expenses. Buying up TV and web ads is one more important outlay. Merchandising of hats, T-shirts, etc. is yet another.

Q: How much does it cost to file to run for President? 

A: By FEC (Federal Election Commission) rules, a candidate for federal office must register with the FEC and file financial reports if they raise or spend $5,000 or more.

Q: What is a Super PAC and how does it work?

A: A Super PAC (Political Action Committee) is an organization which raises and spends money to promote a candidate for office, but does not formally coordinate with or contribute money to the candidate’s official campaign or party.

I hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy collection of stats. As always, numbers have the power to make this clearer than almost anything else. 

  1. The Washington Post
  2. The campaign Finance Institute
  3. CBS Sports
  4. Los Angeles Times
  5. The Washington Post
  6. FoxNews Insider
  7. Newsweek
  8. Politico
  9. CNN Politics
  10. Newsweek
  11. The New York Times
  12. Financial Times
  13. The New York Times
  14. The New York Times
  15. The New York Times
  16. The Campaign Finance Institute
  17. The Campaign Finance Institute
  18. The Campaign Finance Institute
  19. The Campaign Finance Institute
  20. The Campaign Finance Institute
  21. The Campaign Finance Institute
  22. The Campaign Finance Institute
  23. The Campaign Finance Institute
  24. The Campaign Finance Institute
  25. The Campaign Finance Institute
  26. Huffington Post
  27. Wayback Machine
  28. Wayback Machine
  29. The Campaign Finance Institute
  30. The Campaign Finance Institute
  31. The Campaign Finance Institute
  32. The Campaign Finance Institute
  33. The Campaign Finance Institute
  34. The Campaign Finance Institute
  35. The Campaign Finance Institute
  36. The Campaign Finance Institute
  37. The Campaign Finance Institute
  38. AP News
  39. Real Clear Politics
  40. Politico
  41. Real Clear Politics
  42. Real Clear Politics
  43. Real Clear Politics
  44. Real Clear Politics
  45. Real Clear Politics
  46. Reuters
  47. Reuters
  48. Reuters
  49. FoxNews Insider
  50. Forbes
  51. The Campaign Finance Institute

Speak Your Mind

*