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How is the Democratic fundraising fight shaping the 2020 race?

In the wake of two departures from the 2020 Democratic field, it’s likely that only half of the remaining candidates will meet both polling and donor requirements for the next round of debates. But it’s no coincidence that the top five names in polling results and fundraising numbers are the same. Lisa Desjardins reports on how the 21 candidates who are left are competing for money and attention.

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  • John Yang:

    The crowded race for the Democratic presidential nomination has started to winnow, and this week we will learn which of the remaining 21 candidates will be on the debate stage next month. It's likely just half of the field will meet the polling and donor requirements.

    Lisa Desjardins reports that the 2020 hopefuls are competing for attention and dollars.

  • Joseph Biden:

    So, please, please go to JoeBiden.com and sign up and join our campaign. We need your help.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    As the 2020 Democratic candidates debate policy, at the heart of the crowded race is a fight for money. The race's top five candidates in the polls are also the top five fund-raisers.

  • Pete Buttigieg:

    I hope I can look to you to continue helping us grow this movement.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Leading the pack, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. He raised nearly $25 million from April to June of this year, according to financial filings. Former Vice President Joe Biden followed with $22 million, then three senators, beginning with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, $19 million, then Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, $18 million, in fifth, California Senator Kamala Harris, $11.8 million.

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii:

    A dollar, $5, $10, whatever they can, to make sure that we're able to get our message out there.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    After that, a stark gap in the field, in both money raised and polling, with a brutal fight for funds among the remaining candidates.

  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

    It's been a real slog trying to come out of the crowd the

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Michelle Ye Hee Lee covers money and politics for The Washington Post.

  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

    The more and more that the five do better, the gap just continues to grow.

  • Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass.:

    I am running an insurgent campaign.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Unable to close that distance, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton And Washington Governor Jay Inslee dropped out of the race last week. Both had yet to meet fundraising or polling qualifications for the third Democratic debates in September.

  • Julian Castro:

    People pitching in a dollar, $5, $10, $20. And that's the spirit that I'm going to move forward in, in this campaign.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Julian Castro last week became only the 10th candidate to qualify for the debates. So far, that leaves 11 others off next month's stage.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:

    I am asking for your help.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But even the top five fund-raisers have been struggling to pull in steady funds among the crowded field. And how they're going about it varies greatly.

  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

    You see Joe Biden really coming out of the gate with a fundraiser, a private fundraiser held at the Comcast executive's home. And he is — this is kind of like old school

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:

    I'm not taking a dime of PAC money in this campaign.

  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

    At the other end of the spectrum is Elizabeth Warren, who has rejected that type of fundraising overall completely. And she's only raising money from grassroots donors, and she's doing really well.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    And then there is President Donald Trump's reelection campaign, which he kicked off right after his inauguration in 2017.

    Mr. Trump's reelection effort has so far outraised all the Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee combined by about $100 million, with a mix of small donors and multimillion-dollar closed fundraisers.

    That's giving his campaign a decided advantage at targeting voters.

  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

    He's been able to shape the message online and on TV, run ads, really get to know the voter base very well, and know how to reach these people, so that they could turn out on Election Day for him.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Democratic donors on the other hand, especially the high-dollar ones, are largely still untapped. Many donors are still waiting for the race to narrow before making their contributions, while smaller donors are spreading their money across several different candidates.

  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

    They know the money is out there. The question is whether the money spigot is going to really open up in time for the presidential nominee to be able to catch up to the lead that President Trump has.

  • Marianne Williamson:

    Please give at least a dollar, so I can get those donations up.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Candidates who don't make the third debate stage in less than three weeks will likely need to reevaluate whether they have the cash or support to stay in the race. And that's good news for anxious Democratic donors, who say a final Democratic nominee can't come soon enough.

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