Biden had four people on his payroll during that time: campaign director Julie Chávez Rodríguez, principal deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks, spokesperson Kevin Munoz, and general counsel Maury Riggan. The campaign spent him less than $1,500 on travel, accommodations and airline tickets. On rent, he didn’t spend anything. He hasn’t yet opened a campaign headquarters and much of his staff has worked in the Democratic National Committee building.
It’s a very different approach than the one his old boss, former President Barack Obama, took in 2011, when he was running for re-election and spent more than $11 million in the second quarter of that year. And it has raised concern among Democrats about what they see as the slow pace of the campaign.
In particular, some Democrats have expressed anxiety over what they saw as Biden’s mediocre small-dollar donor operation — a sign, they argued, that there is a lack of enthusiasm for the president. Through the campaign and a joint fundraising committee, Biden has raised more than $10 million from donors who have given less than $200. But it was still less than half of what Obama raised from small donors during the same period in 2011. Both were running with largely token primary opposition.
The total was slightly more than the $8.3 million Biden raised in combined giving during the second quarter of 2019. But he was a primary candidate then. Now he’s a president who owns an email list that his campaign said includes « nearly 25 million email subscribers. »
Biden’s team projected confidence, dismissing the notion that they should now spend more. And the aides said 30 percent of their « donor universe » this quarter were new donors from 2020. They note that it’s early in the cycle. Other Democratic candidates also saw unexceptional small-dollar numbers in the second quarter, as did Republicans.
Unlike Obama, Biden enjoys a tight DNC and his campaign leans heavily on the national party in this early stage of the election. The goal, according to Biden’s advisers, is to run an efficient operation that spreads costs across the board. The DNC has more than 300 staff members, an aide said, and the organization’s communications, fundraising and research teams are particularly involved in Biden’s reelection. The DNC’s technology infrastructure and organizational assistants also play a key role.
The Biden campaign, the DNC and their joint fundraising committees announced Friday that they raised more than $72 million combined in the second quarter of the year. Jeffrey Katzenberg, Biden’s campaign co-chair, said that number proves the team’s frugal approach is the right one.
“This fundraising blockbuster is an affirmation that the plan and strategy are working super effectively,” he said. « Because there is no measure that is, I believe, more revealing than how well your supporters support you with their checkbook. »
Fundraising expenses accounted for just 16 percent of the money raised by the Biden Victory Fund, the largest of the president’s joint fundraising committees, a campaign official said.
During a private call with donors Friday about this quarter’s fundraising, Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager, reiterated the team’s view that their opponents are wasting money while putting theirs aside. He said « MAGA Republicans » seeking to oust Biden are « burning their resources in extremely controversial primaries. »
One of Biden’s biggest expenses in the recent quarter, totaling about $332,000, was service fees for the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue. Some of his other major expenses involved text messaging ($226,000), payroll and payroll taxes ($153,000), and legal services ($98,000).
The Biden campaign has reported few fundraising expenses overall, but it has accepted transfers from joint fundraising committees, and joint fundraising committees can often raise a lot of fundraising expenses.
Biden’s campaign also said that at least a half-dozen staffers kicked off after June 30, when the second quarter ended, including communications director Michael Tyler.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Biden suggested he will continue his approach of working closely with the DNC throughout the campaign.
“Part of our strategy for victory is to run a one-team operation. Staff, resources and funding from across the DNC and Biden-Harris 2024 are and will be dedicated to the reelection effort, from finance to communications to outreach and more,” Munoz said.
“Reporting-wise, it may look and feel different than previous campaigns, but by all of our success metrics this is a proven and successful model, already helping drive election victories for Democrats in places from Wisconsin to Jacksonville.” .