The cash crunch comes at a critical time in the race, with nearly a third of available primary delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday March 3, and only a handful of candidates able to muster resources to advertise to voters in those 14 states. That’s why the super PACs, demonized at the start of the 2020 primaries, are suddenly swooping in to help most Democratic candidates, and that’s why campaigns are now making increasingly urgent calls for financial help.
On Thursday, Buttigieg issued a new call for money to his supporters, asking them to give him $13 million to keep his campaign competitive after he raised just $6.2 million in January.
“Now we are also facing a billionaire who is throwing colossal sums of money at television instead of doing campaign work,” Buttigieg wrote in an email to supporters. “We need to raise a significant amount of money, around $13 million, before Super Tuesday on March 3 to stay competitive.”
Bloomberg, fellow billionaire Tom Steyer and Sanders are the only candidates with more than $1 million in TV ad time already booked for the next few days in the Super Tuesday states. Klobuchar has set aside about $874,000 so far in smaller states, skipping California and Texas, while Warren, whose campaign announced Thursday that it has raised $17 million so far in February, is announcing smaller amounts in Colorado and Maine. Buttigieg has yet to book television ads beyond the South Carolina primary.
Reaching the $13 million goal would require Buttigieg to raise more than $1 million a day by the self-imposed deadline.
“There are only a couple of candidates with the funds to run in all those Super Tuesday states,” said Ami Copeland, deputy national finance director for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Other campaigns “have to fight each other for the smaller states.”
That made Warren’s strong performance in Wednesday night’s debate especially important to his campaign, which he said raised more than $5 million in less than 24 hours, a much-needed turnout and his best fundraising day yet. the date.
Meanwhile, single-candidate super PACs supporting Warren and Klobuchar have begun airing ads in South Carolina and Nevada, after candidates, especially Warren, have spent months decrying the influence of big money on politics. VoteVets, a super PAC that supports veterans and has endorsed Buttigieg, is airing ads supporting him in the race.
Several major Buttigieg donors flocked to VoteVets in January, according to new financial disclosures. They include Swati Mylavarapu, Buttigieg’s campaign finance chairman, and Buttigieg’s pack, Hamilton James, executive vice president of private equity giant Blackstone, who donated $50,000 and $15,000 respectively to the VoteVets PAC last month when he began to help him on the radio waves.
Buttigieg raised less money from small donors in January than in previous months: 29 percent of his funds came from donors who gave $200 or less, a drop from the 45 percent overall in 2019. dollar fundraisers between stops campaign, including a four-event tour of the San Francisco Bay Area in the days after the New Hampshire primary.
Only one of the non-billionaire candidates could afford to spend big money preparing for the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses and he still has money to spare: Sanders.
Sanders spent $26.5 million in January, airing TV ads and paying a staff of more than 1,000 while keeping enough in the bank to jump into the California and Texas media markets before most of his rivals. .
The next-highest-spending campaign, Warren’s, spent almost all of his available cash in January, shelling out $22 million and entering February with just $2.3 million in available cash. Warren’s campaign has a particularly large staff of more than 1,200 people, costing $8.6 million in salaries and payroll taxes in January alone.
Warren has also had to shift her TV ad bookings in South Carolina and Nevada, cutting overall ad spending. Warren’s campaign was in such financial need that it took out a $400,000 loan in January, the disclosures show.
But his campaign is now getting outside help that could offer him a lifeline: On Wednesday, a new super PAC, Persist PAC, began booking seven-figure TV ads, boosting Warren’s campaign with an ad highlighting his experience in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. .
Asked Thursday if he would call the super PAC to remove the ads, Warren refused to disavow the new group, despite his previous opposition to the super PACs in the race.
“If all the candidates want to get rid of the super PACs? Count me in, I’ll lead the charge. But that’s the way it has to be.” Warren told reporters.