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Excerpt: "New financial disclosure forms show that all but five 2020 Democrats are rapidly running out of money."

Democratic presidential candidates wave to the crowd at the first round of primary debates in June. (photo: Jayme Gershen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates wave to the crowd at the first round of primary debates in June. (photo: Jayme Gershen/Getty Images)


The 2020 Democratic Field Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller

By Eric Lutz, Vanity Fair

16 July 19


New financial disclosure forms show that all but five 2020 Democrats are rapidly running out of money.

ith such a large Democratic primary field, all competing for the same resources, it was only a matter of time before candidates started running out of money. New financial disclosures reveal just that: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg are chugging along, while the remainder of the jam-packed field appears to be struggling to fundraise, or spending more than they’re bringing in, suggesting the end may be nigh.

As Politico reported Tuesday, eleven campaigns—close to half the field—spent more than they raised in the second quarter of the year, a number that includes John Delaney, the former congressman who launched his campaign close to two years ago; Beto O’Rourke, who’s so far failed to capture the energy of his 2018 face-off with Ted Cruz; and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar, all of whom have struggled to break free from the pack. Even those not in the red are feeling the pinch. Julian Castro had a breakout performance in the first round of Democratic debates last month, but is nevertheless spending more than 80 percent of the money he’s taking in, leaving his campaign in dire straits. “Some of these candidates need a miracle,” Mathew Littman, a Democratic strategist and former Biden speechwriter who now supports Harris, told Politico. “It’s like if you’re a baseball team and you’re 15 games behind in mid-July, the odds are that you’re not making it to the playoffs.”

The “playoffs,” in this case, would be the first contests of the Democratic primary in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, which are still half a year away. On one hand, that means struggling candidates still have time to right the ship. On the other, they’ll have to maintain campaigns that are already short on resources, a problem that’s likely to worsen as frontrunners become entrenched. As the New York Times noted Tuesday, the best-funded candidates raked in a combined $96 million last quarter—about three-quarters of the money brought in by the entire field—and are significantly outspending their less-monied counterparts. Resources, in other words, are becoming increasingly concentrated at the top. “This is the doomsday scenario for a lot of campaigns, where they’re grasping for air to keep their campaigns alive and to live another day,” Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman told Politico. “You can’t build an operation that turns enthusiasm into votes without having resources to do it.”

Of course, the winnowing was bound to happen sooner or later. As my colleague Chris Smith reported back in February, the field was primed for a life-or-death battle for limited cash and staff. “They are not all going to be able to raise enough money to get from here to Iowa,” Mark Longabaugh, a top Sanders strategist in 2016, told Smith. “By the time we get to the end of this year, you’re going to know the three or four who have a legitimate shot at the nomination.” There’s still time for some jockeying— the second round of debates is set for later this month, and bubble candidates are scrambling to qualify for the third debates in September. But several campaigns seem doomed. Eric Swalwell, the California congressman, has already dropped his bid, and a number of others who have failed to ascend from anonymity are circling the drain. For months, the story has been the growing 2020 field. In the coming months, the story is likely to be that field’s shrinking.

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+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-16 15:04
No mention of Tulsi Gabbard in the above. She's doing well in fund raising. She's just passed the 100,000 mark in individual contributors.

And what about Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who just entered the race.

The second debate does have certain requirement for admission. Some will drop out.

But there is campaign money and then there's a different kind of campaign money that also means popular support. I am skeptical of anyone who gets most of his/her money from millionaires, banks, or corporations. Usually this kind of money is not counted in articles like the one above because it goes into a PAC or other fund where there are no limits on the amount of contributions.
 
 
+2 # bandonval 2019-07-16 15:49
No mention of Tulsi Gabard. Looked up status of funding and seems to have nearly $3M cash still on hand? WTF?
 
 
+1 # economagic 2019-07-16 16:12
Yeah, looks like a fair amount of vanity here, but not a lot of substance: discussion of eleven of the 25(?) now in the running, quotes from four pundits, and a "professional sports" analogy. Aren't these horse-race callers required to be licensed and registered? If not, why not?
 
 
+4 # lfeuille 2019-07-16 16:35
Good. 24 is way to many to manage. Debates are just sound-bite contests with that many. There just isn't time for substance.
 
 
0 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-07-16 17:43
Goodbye.
 
 
0 # Forbes 2019-07-16 18:06
Great - time to narrow the field down. Hopefully, Biden and Buttigieg will be gone soon. Gillibrand and Booker need to be in the running with Sanders and Warren.
 
 
+5 # E-Mon 2019-07-16 19:19
Very interesting... Not even a peep about Tulsi Gabbard. Just got an email from Tulsi 2020 saying they just passed the 100,000 donor mark. 30,000 left to go which seems doable. Why no mention of her? Maybe hoping if they ignore her she'll just go away? Don't draw attention to her anti war message? Is that it? Maybe it's just embarrassing to hear someone speak pure common sense when you've been pushing the pro war narrative for so long. I mean REALLY!? 20 YEARS in Afghanistan? Are we winning yet? Why are we even there at all? Don't tell me it's to fight the terrorists. If that's the case it's a perpetual motion machine. The longer we sit in the middle of someone else's country the more we create. What would we be doing if another country's military was sitting in the middle of the USA? Just sitting back letting it happen? BTW the whole excuse for invading in the first place, Bin Laden has been dead for quite a while.
 
 
+6 # chrisconno 2019-07-17 12:29
Biden is a republican's democrat and likely is receiving substantial contributions from the corporates through PACs. I hope he fails to split the vote between Bernie and Warren. They are our best choices for our children's futures.
 

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