Biden team raised $53 million in February, entering general election with major cash advantage

President Joe Biden’s campaign effort brought in $53 million in February, a sign of accelerating donor interest over a month that saw the election rematch crystalize between Biden and former President Donald Trump.

The figure, which includes funds from Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and related joint fundraising committees, contributed to the $155 million Biden’s effort had in the bank at the end of February.

That’s the most cash any Democratic presidential candidate has ever had at this stage in the election cycle, and provides Biden a significant advantage over Trump, whose fundraising has lagged behind the Democrats’ over the course of the campaign season.

Fundraising has amounted to a bright spot for Biden’s reelection effort, even as he battles low approval ratings and some polls showing him trailing Trump in key battleground states.

Flush with cash, Biden’s team is spending this month scaling up its operation in battleground states, including opening 100 offices and hiring 350 staffers.

The president has also been traveling extensively to electoral battlegrounds as the general election campaign gets underway, with more stops in Nevada and Arizona scheduled this week. The campaign is required to reimburse the government for the cost of flying Air Force One on political travel and must cover other travel expenses.

And the campaign has invested heavily in television advertising, including a $30 million initiative in battleground states that began after Biden delivered his State of the Union address this month. The campaign said that speech generated $10 million in donations, a major sum that isn’t reflected in February’s numbers.

Biden’s fundraising efforts in February included a three-day swing in California that was expected to raise as much as $10 million. Other top cash-generating moments included the Republican primary in South Carolina, which brought in $1.6 million for Biden’s effort, and an email from first lady Jill Biden following the release of special counsel Robert Hur’s report, which raised $853,000.

A contest for supporters to win tickets to an event next month featuring Biden and former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also brought in $4 million in February.

In all, the Biden campaign says it has received donations from 1.3 million donors since the start of the campaign last year, with 97% coming in under $200. February was the strongest grassroots fundraising month so far, the campaign said.

“It gives you a barometer of the grassroots enthusiasm, particularly at this stage of the race. It’s going to hockey stick. And your goal at this stage of the race is to get the baseline from which you hockey stick to be as high as possible. And that happens because you’ve got really enthusiastic supporters,” said Rob Flaherty, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, in an interview.

In 2020, Biden raised money from more than 6 million people, a sign of upside in the number of donors who could emerge later in the year.

Biden campaign officials say that as more Americans absorb the reality of the Biden-Trump rematch — and the potential for Trump to return to the White House — more contributions will be unlocked.

In many ways, that shift has already started to take hold. In February, a series of email solicitations focusing on Trump as the likely GOP nominee and issuing reminders of the former president’s record drove up grassroots donations to Biden. In all, the Biden team saw fundraising from emails increase 40% from the previous month.

“One transition that happened in the course of this month is the salience of the contrast really grew,” said Flaherty. “It had been, the best way to raise was to talk about the president and the agenda and all of that. We are now starting to see the performance of the anti Trump content.”

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