WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign is holding off releasing its record September fundraising total out of concern that it will slow giving in the final weeks of the race, according to three people familiar with the campaign’s thinking.
The campaign is raising record sums of money and does not want to turn off donors from chipping in more or give President Donald Trump a rallying cry for his donors with just 25 days left. The September haul will become public when the campaign and the Democratic National Committee file their monthly reports to the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 20.
The campaign also wants to have enough money for any legal battles it may have to fight after Election Day, if the results are challenged or there are complications with the large number of absentee ballots.
Bloomberg News first reported last week that the Democratic nominee’s total fundraising for September tops the then-record $364.5 million raised in August, but the exact total was not immediately clear. Rather than making a splash with an announcement of that total, the campaign has closely held the number for more than a week.
On Oct. 1, 2016, Hillary Clinton announced September’s total haul of $154 million was her best month of fundraising in the campaign. Her combined war chest of $152.6 million was almost twice as much as Trump’s total. But donors didn’t feel the same urgency to contribute after hearing the big number, according to a Democratic fundraiser who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.
Biden campaign staff members did not disclose the September fundraising number on a call with the national finance committee this week. Donors received a briefing from John Anzalone, the campaign’s pollster, and they were encouraged to keep seeking donations.
A Biden campaign aide said this isn’t the first time they’ve delayed announcing their fundraising, pointing to the May report, which wasn’t released until June 15.
The campaign brought in more than $12 million on Wednesday alone, the day running mate Kamala Harris debated Vice President Mike Pence in Salt Lake City. Harris has been a prolific fundraiser for the campaign since she joined the ticket in August.
The delayed announcement is a break from the past several months when the campaign announced its fundraising totals just days after the month ended. August’s fundraising numbers were released Sept. 2, July’s figures on Aug. 5 and June’s numbers on July 1.
Last month’s record-breaking haul followed a flood of money coming into the Democratic fundraising apparatus after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Biden’s campaign also raised $31.5 million in just over 24 hours after the first debate with Trump.
In August, Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $210 million, falling $154 million short of Biden. The Trump campaign has not yet released its September fundraising numbers.
Biden’s fundraising success reversed a massive financial advantage that Trump and the Republicans had just months ago. In April, Biden had about $98 million in the bank compared to $255 million for the incumbent. Yet Democratic donor enthusiasm, driven by opposition to Trump and further energized by the selection of Harris as Biden’s running mate, has given the former vice president an unprecedented financial edge for a challenger.
Trump’s reelection effort had $325 million at the end of August, or $141 million less than Biden’s.
Two joint fundraising committees, which raise money for the Biden campaign, the DNC and state parties, file quarterly and will report their numbers to the FEC on Thursday.
Story by Tyler Pager
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