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Trump raised so much last month that he wiped out Biden’s cash advantage

Former President Donald Trump’s massive fundraising campaign in May wiped out President Joe Biden’s long-standing cash advantage as the two geared up for a rematch.

Trump’s campaign had $116.6 million in the bank at the end of May, compared to $91.6 million for Biden.

It wasn’t due to poor fundraising on the part of the incumbent – Biden’s campaign saw a decent fundraising recovery in May, after a weak performance from the month before. But Trump’s fundraising while he was on trial in New York that month interrupted in the last days when he was convicted was enough to surpass Biden in campaign money, something that had also happened has long been seen as a crucial strength of his.

The latest campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission also showed how Biden has continued to build his campaign apparatus while Trump has largely tied up cash. And elections are also becoming increasingly heated, with party committees and other outside groups bringing in – and distributing – more money than before.

After months of a relatively sleepy start, the race for real money has begun.

These are among the takeaways from the campaign finance reports filed Thursday by presidential campaigns, party committees and a handful of other groups. The reports covered all activities of the month of May.

Biden was counting on a monetary advantage. Trump wiped it out.

Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee said they raised $141 million in May, a figure that included significant fundraising following the former president’s criminal conviction on hush-money charges. when Trump’s joint fundraising committees file their own reports.)

But the former president’s campaign filings on Thursday showed a significant increase in the last two days of the month — the day the jury returned a guilty verdict and the day after.

Looking at big-dollar donations, the campaign reported receiving at least six times as many daily donations on those two days as on a normal day. And the fundraising spike was likely even greater when you consider that it doesn’t include joint donations of less than $200, or donations that had not yet been transferred to joint fundraising contributions.

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In total, Trump’s campaign and the RNC combined to report just over $170 million in cash at the end of May, overtaking Biden and the Democratic National Committee, which reported just under $157 million.

While Trump’s trial and conviction in New York boosted grassroots fundraising, last month’s strong numbers also reflected traditional Republican donors ramping up their donations as the general election cycle got underway.

The pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. raised nearly $70 million in May. But the bulk of that total was a one-time $50 million donation from Timothy Mellon, a longtime GOP donor who had already given the super PAC $25 million since early last year. (Mellon has also given $25 million to a super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) The super PAC also received $5 million each from Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, longtime Republican Party megadonors.

Biden’s fundraising rebounded, but he spent far more than Trump

Biden’s operation said it raised $85 million in May through his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and two joint fundraising committees — a significant recovery of the previous monthwhen it only grossed $51 million.

According to the report filed late Thursday, the incumbent president’s campaign also spent more than $30 million, up from $25 million the month before and nearly four times as much as Trump’s campaign spent during the same period.

Ad buys and media production accounted for roughly two-thirds of that spending total, but Biden also outspent Trump on a range of other spending categories, such as payroll, on which Biden’s campaign spent nearly $3.8 million, compared to $176,000 for Trump. Some of that disparity was likely due to some change on the Republican side, as many staffers recently paid directly by Trump’s campaign are now on the payroll at the RNC. But it also reflects how Biden’s campaign has built a much more robust — and expensive — campaign infrastructure.

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Of course, Trump now has the money available to match Biden’s campaign. The question for the rest of the summer will be how his campaign will use it.

RFK Jr. (and its allies) need cash

Kennedy’s campaign has struggled to raise funds for monthsand things seemed to get even more dire last month.

The campaign spent significantly more than was raised in May amid a fundraising slowdown, and even the primary super PAC backing him — which can take unlimited money from wealthy donors — reported a paltry $281,000 for the month, though there is still more than $19 million in the bank was standing.

Kennedy’s lagging fundraising poses challenges on several levels. First, this suggests that Kennedy has largely failed to significantly expand his support beyond the base that liked him from the start. It also comes at a time when presidential fundraising is typically picking up, with Biden and Trump both reporting strong fundraising months. But Kennedy, too failed to qualify for next week’s CNN debatedoesn’t build momentum.

And of course, a lack of fundraising could pose very practical challenges for Kennedy and his allies. Campaigning along this path will require significant resources, but it is not clear whether Kennedy will have them.

Lower-ballot Republicans are picking up the pace

As election campaigns resume in a down-ballot race, campaign teams for both House Democrats and House Republicans say they set new fundraising records in May. And for the first time this year, the National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted its Democratic counterpart.

The House Republican Party’s campaign arm raised $12.6 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s $11.9 million, which was Democrats’ second-lowest monthly fundraising total this year since the 9, $5 million in January.

The windfall following Trump’s verdict likely helped Republicans. The NRCC noted in a press release that it raised more than $1 million from small-dollar donors “in the days following” Trump’s conviction, demonstrating how Trump’s fundraising prowess is filtering into the vote.

Still, the DCCC has raised more so far this cycle and maintains a significant cash advantage: at the end of May, the bank had $78.8 million in the bank, compared to $64.6 million for the NRCC.

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The Senate Republican campaign arm also ripped off the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last month, by $12.4 million to $10.6 million. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has raped the DSCC every month this year. But the DSCC retains a small cash advantage: $48.3 million to $41 million.

AIPAC’s expenditures are broader than previously known

The largest pro-Israel group continued to join forces: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee focused major funds on its endorsed candidates in two major Democratic primaries in May, raising $890,000 for George Latimer, who represents Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y. .) challenges. .), and $818,000 for Wesley Bell, who is challenging Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.).

AIPAC did not raise more than $140,000 for any other candidate in May, showing how these two primaries remain the group’s top priority. Its affiliated super PAC, United Democracy Project, has made a big splash in congressional races — including Bowman’s — over the past month by spending heavily.

AIPAC also quietly funneled money into a congressional race in May — but the source of the money, after much speculation, has only now become public.

Two super PACs that spent big on an open Democratic congressional primary in Oregon this year got money from an AIPAC affiliate. The groups, 314 Action Fund and Voters for Responsive Government, together spent nearly $5.5 million boosting state Rep. Maxine Dexter and attacking former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, who had the support of national progressives. Dexter won the primaries convincingly and will go to victory in the safe Democratic district where Biden won by almost 50 points in 2020.

Last month, The Intercept reported this the link between AIPAC and 314, which is the group pushed back. Dexter’s main opponents also objected to the campaign spending accused 314 of being funded by Republicans – a refrain that progressives use this often as an attack on AIPAC.

Thursday’s filings showed that Voters for Responsive Government received $1.3 million from the United Democracy Project, while the 314 Action Fund received $1 million. Both donations were made on May 1 – one day after the monthly disclosure deadline that would have resulted in the source of the money being revealed before Oregon’s May 21 congressional primary.

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