Seven takeaways from Q3 presidential fundraising in Delaware

WILMINGTON – In his first full fundraising quarter in his third presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden continued to mine the First State for campaign dollars. 

Biden raked in $232,785 from Delaware contributors, more than triple the amount of President Donald Trump during the third quarter, which ran from July 1 through Sept. 30. Biden also raised more than 10 times the amount of his closest Democratic competitors, as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with $21,734; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with $20,073; and Sen. Bernie Sanders with $14,142, were the only three candidates to crack five-digit sums from Delaware.

No big surprise, but perhaps some of these other takeaways could be conversation-starters at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

1. Biden maxes out. About 40% of Biden’s haul in the quarter came from maximum donations from individuals, as 30 contributors donated the $2,800 legal maximum for a candidate’s campaign, according to a Delaware Business Times analysis of campaign finance records. Four more kicked in $3,800 under laws that allow up to $5,600 under a joint account. Many of Biden’s top donors are lawyers or business owners.

In comparison, only six other max contributions were made to all other candidates in the quarter. Buttigieg received two of them, including one for $5,600, while former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and former U.S. Rep. John Delaney all received one each. President Trump received one donation of $5,600.

2. Sanders, Warren aim small. In line with their nationwide campaigns, both Sanders and Warren increased their quarter-over-quarter pull without relying on large donations. Of Sanders’s 537 Delaware donations in the quarter, only one topped four digits with the vast majority under $100, and similarly of Warren’s 343 contributions only three were $1,000 or more.

3. Party loyalty prevails. No one in Delaware appears to have donated to President Trump and one of the Democratic candidates.

4. Sussex tops average donation amount. Of all individual donations, Sussex Countians made an average donation of $138.82, while New Castle Countians made an average donation of $103.13 and Kent County gave $38.52 per donation. New Castle County had 2,338 total donations, while Sussex had 1,059 and Kent had 459.

5. Biden tops average contribution. The former vice president raised $232,786 on 1,109 donations for an average donation of $209.91. President Trump had more individual donations (1,219) but only raised $76,652 for an average donation of $62.88. The rest of the Democratic contenders combined raised $90,111 on 1,528 separate donations for an average of $58.97.

6. Hedging their bets. Just 17 Delawareans donated to multiple candidates, including two Wilmingtonians who live at the same address. One person from Newark made donations to four candidates (Sanders, Warren, Biden, and Booker) while the most common pairing is, not surprisingly, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Twelve of the 17 multi-candidate donors hailed from either Wilmington or Newark. 

7. Donating to who? Of the lower polling Democratic candidates, several have enthusiastic donors in Delaware. John Delaney, who famously announced his presidential run in 2017 far before anyone else, received 43 contributions from eight people in the quarter, including 27 from one person. Similarly, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet received 24 contributions from three people, including 22 from one person; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock received 23 contributions from seven people and businesswoman Marianne Williamson received 38 contributions from eight people.

By Peter Osborne
and Jacob Owens

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