The Slatest

Biden Faces Fundraising Woes as Buttigieg Appears to be Snatching Up Some of His Donors

Democratic presidential candidate, former vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at Wilson High School on October 26, 2019 in Florence, South Carolina.
Democratic presidential candidate, former vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at Wilson High School on October 26, 2019 in Florence, South Carolina.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is in trouble. The once clear frontrunner in the Democratic presidential contest is having trouble keeping up with the finances of its rivals and campaign stuffers are urging donors to “dig deep,” reports the New York Times. Even though the campaign is trying to dismiss fears that Biden is facing money woes, the mere fact that the donors need to be reassured is an illustration of the stark turnaround for the once clear favorite in the race. Biden now has $9 million cash on hand, a fraction of the $33.7 million that Sen. Bernie Sanders has or the $25.7 million that is in Elizabeth Warren’s coffer.

Even though polls largely show that Biden continues to be in the lead, the apparent limit for Biden to appeal to big donors and his failure to light a fire among small-money donors “has served as a flashing warning sign about the potential limits of his appeal,” notes the Times. Where are all the would-be donors? Maybe with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The host of a recent fundraiser for Buttigieg claimed that the crowd was filled with “a lot of those people you would have thought would be Biden people. And they weren’t.” Many of those who were there had an overwhelming feeling that “Biden has already lost,” according to the Bradley Tusk, who was manager of Michael Bloomberg’s reelection campaign for mayor of New York City.

Biden’s financial troubles helps to explain why his campaign dropped its long-standing opposition to a super PAC, which will allow his donors to give unlimited money to support the former vice president. But that, of course, comes with a cost. Both Sanders and Warren have criticized the move but Biden insiders say it’s a necessary because he “is taking incoming fire from both the White House and primary opponents on a daily basis, and needs to play both offense and defense.”

Biden’s financial woes comes at a time when a recent poll showed that the former vice president has narrowed his once-formidable lead in the early primary state of South Carolina. Although Biden still has 30 percent support in the state, his lead has narrowed to 11 points as support for the former vice president has decreased six points from August, according to the Post and Courier poll.