Bernie Sanders, who will have his first Washington state campaign rally in Tacoma on Monday, has already raised more money here than any of his Democratic rivals.
The Vermont senator pulled in more than $2 million from Washington residents through the end of 2019, beating out Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who raised about $1.6 million, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. who raised $1.5 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke at four private fundraisers in the Seattle area last year, raised about
$1 million. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke at a small event in Seattle in September, raised about $400,000 here, less than Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, who ended her presidential run in early December.
With his win Tuesday in the New Hampshire primary, Sanders has emerged as the early leader for the Democratic presidential nomination. He has built a massive online fundraising operation powered by small donors. That’s reflected in his Washington support, as he received more than 56,000 donations from residents of the state through the end of the year — more than double the 25,000 Warren received.
Sanders’ strength here is attributable, in part, to loyalists who backed him in the 2016, when he won Washington’s Democratic caucuses over eventual nominee Hillary Clinton. This year, Democrats are ditching the caucuses in favor of the state’s March 10 presidential primary. Ballots for the primary will be mailed Feb. 21.
The Washington state fundraising figures are drawn from the latest FEC reports, which include itemized donations through the end of 2019 for people who have given a candidate at least $200 in total. Many donors reach that threshold with recurring small contributions. The average size of the itemized Sanders’ donations in Washington, for example, is $37, compared with $153 for Biden and $270 for Gov. Jay Inslee, who dropped out of the presidential race in August.
President Donald Trump,
meanwhile, raised more than
$2.7 million from Washington donors — topping what his campaign raised in the state in the whole of the 2016 campaign. He received nearly 45,000 donations, more than double the number from four years ago, FEC reports show.
Who’s giving Trump all that money?
Older people. Nearly half Trump’s total Washington fundraising haul comes from retired people. He raised more money from retired people in Washington than all Democratic candidates combined.
Boeing employees gave Trump nearly $38,000, his best haul from any single employer and more than twice what any Democrat got from workers at the aerospace giant.
Trump also dominates among business owners. Washington donors who classify themselves as “self-employed” or an “entrepreneur” gave more than $333,000 to the president, nearly three times as much as the closest Democrat, Buttigieg, who raised $119,000 from Washington business owners.
Employees of Seattle-area tech giants widely favor Democrats.
Despite his fierce criticisms of Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, Sanders received more donations from Washington employees of Amazon (about 900) than any other candidate, though New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang raised more total dollars from Amazon workers in the state — about $69,000.
Other notable Washington residents who donated to presidential campaigns include: Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll, who gave $1,000 to Booker; soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who gave $1,000 to Harris, before endorsing Warren; actor Chris Pratt who gave $1,000 to Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, who gave $200 to Sanders.
The dollar chase is sure to accelerate as the 2020 election grows closer. Sanders’ campaign, for example, recently announced it raised an additional $1.3 million from Washington donors in January alone.