POLITICS

Pete Buttigieg's Campaign Says He Raised Nearly $25 Million In 4th Quarter

The presidential candidate has come under fire in recent months for his high-dollar fundraisers.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced a significant fundraising haul of $24.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s campaign said Wednesday that it had raised more than $76 million in 2019 from more than 733,000 individual donors. 

Buttigieg’s latest fundraising figure, which falls just short of his campaign’s second-quarter haul of $24.9 million, comes amid criticism from his Democratic rivals, particularly Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), around his high-dollar fundraising events. Warren and Sanders do not attend private fundraisers with wealthy donors in their campaigning. 

Other campaigns have not yet announced their fourth-quarter fundraising figures and have until Jan. 31 to do so. Fellow contender Andrew Yang said Wednesday that he’d raised just over $4 million in the last week of December but has not yet reported a fourth-quarter total. 

Buttigieg’s haul is significantly higher than the previous third quarter of July through September, when he raised just over $19 million ― ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised $15 million, but trailing Warren at $24.6 million and Sanders at $25.3 million. 

Though early polls have Buttigieg leading in Iowa, whose caucuses are next month, national polling still has the 37-year-old trailing front-runner Biden by 20 percentage points. He’s also polling behind Sanders and Warren.   

Under intense criticism for holding private fundraisers with wealthy donors, Buttigieg last month decided to disclose the names of his fundraisers and open his events to the media. 

Buttigieg and Warren sparred over the former mayor’s high-dollar fundraisers in the debate last month. Warren called out Buttigieg for holding a fundraiser in the Napa Valley wine cave of a billionaire couple, saying: “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president.”

Buttigieg shot back that Warren and the other candidates on stage had more personal wealth than he did, adding, “This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.”  

Warren said private campaign fundraisers amounted to selling influence, stating, “I do not sell access to my time.” 

Though Warren has made a point of not holding private, high-dollar fundraisers in her presidential campaign, she did for her Senate campaigns.  

Late last month, a report from Axios found one of Buttigieg’s top fundraisers had offered at least one wealthy prospective donor an opportunity for increased influence with the candidate in exchange for a large donation. The campaign said it did not see or approve of the language in the email.   

When asked Wednesday about criticism around Buttigieg’s high-dollar fundraisers, the candidate’s campaign pointed HuffPost to the average contribution to his campaign in the fourth quarter, $33. 

“The only promise any donor will ever get from Pete is that he will use their donations to defeat Donald Trump,” campaign spokesperson Sean Savett told HuffPost.

“The stakes in this election are clear and stark ― we have one shot to defeat Donald Trump and we can’t do that with one hand tied behind our back,” Savett added, in a line the campaign has repeated in response to mounting criticisms.

CORRECTION: This article previously listed Yang’s $4 million fundraising figure as his total for the fourth quarter of 2019. The figure was for the last week of December. His team has not released fourth-quarter totals yet. 

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