The financial landscape of the 2024 presidential race, the race’s rich and poor, its drive and desperation, will come into greater focus on Saturday, the deadline for campaigns to submit their latest reports to the Federal Election Commission.
The submissions, detailing fundraising and spending from April 1 through June, will show which campaigns generated the most hard dollars or money raised under federal limits used to pay for staff, travel, events and advertising. Senate campaigns are also due by the end of Saturday, which means an early look at incumbent fundraising in potentially vulnerable seats.
Crucially, the records will reveal which candidates are having difficulty attracting donor interest. For example, former Vice President Mike Pence raised just $1.2 million, two aides said Friday, a surprisingly low figure that could signal a rocky road ahead.
The reports will also give insight into small dollar support and which donors are maximizing their contributions to which candidates. And they’ll show how campaigns are spending their money, which ones have plenty of cash on hand, and which ones are in danger of running out.
“The FEC reports are the MRI of a campaign,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist. “It’s the closest thing to breaking into headquarters and going through the files.”
But the picture will not be complete. For one, super PACs, who can raise unlimited money and play a major role in supporting presidential candidates, don’t have to file reports on their fundraising and spending until the end of the month.
Neither will the total number of donors for each campaign be provided in the files. That number is a vital measure for Republicans, because the party requires that presidential candidates have at least 40,000 unique donors to participate in the first primary debate on Aug. 23.
Saturday will also be the first detailed look at President Biden’s war chest as his re-election campaign slowly ramps up. His campaign said Friday that along with the Democratic National Committee and a joint fundraising committee, he had raised more than $72 million combined for the second quarter.
In the same period in 2019, former President Donald J. Trump and his allies raised a total of $105 million: $54 million for Trump and his committees, and $51 million for the Republican National Committee. In 2011, former President Barack Obama raised $47 million for his campaign and $38 million for the Democratic National Committee.
Money raised by candidates in competitive Senate races in West Virginia, Arizona, Montana, Nevada and Ohio, among other places, will also be displayed on Saturday.
Competitors scrutinize submissions from presidential candidates, who want “to get a sense of how they’re applying their resources, which will give them a clue about strategies,” Murphy said. Candidates can see how much their rivals are spending on ads and surveys, for example.
“The most important number is cash on hand minus debt,” Murphy said. “You see how much financial power they really have.”
Several Republican presidential campaigns have anticipated its fundraising ahead of launch. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised $20 million in the second quarter, his campaign said this month. But Saturday’s presentation will show what percentage of that amount came from contributions under $200, which is instructive in assessing the strength of his grassroots support.
Trump raised more than $35 million in the second quarter, his campaign said. However, that number is hard to compare to DeSantis’s because Trump has raised money through a joint fundraising committee, which allows him to solicit contributions above the $3,300 individual limit and then transfer funds to his campaign already. his leadership. political action committee.
Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, is raising money for a joint fundraising committee, which transfers funds to her campaign and a leadership PAC.
Ms. Haley’s three committees together received $7.3 million in contributions in the second quarter, according to documents shared with The New York Times, of which the campaign itself accounted for $4.3 million.
Mr. Murphy singled out Ms. Haley as a candidate whose total earnings appeared modest, but whose available cash had increased since the first quarter of the year, from $7.9 million to $9.3 million across all three committees. “She shows a heartbeat,” she said. Her files also suggest that her campaign is running a simple operation, with minimal staff, inexpensive travel and no TV ads.
The Republican National Committee’s donor threshold for the first debate has changed the reckoning for many campaigns and PACs, who must focus not only on raising money but also on attracting a sufficient number of individual donors. So far, the candidates who say they have met that threshold are Trump, DeSantis, Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
On Wednesday, Mr. Scott’s campaign said it had raised $6.1 million in the second trimester. Mr. Scott entered the race in May with a head start: He had $22 million in strong dollars in his Senate campaign. His presidential campaign said it had $21 million remaining at the end of the quarter.
Another Republican candidate, wealthy businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, has not released a preview of his fundraising figures, but has said he will spend $100 million of his own money on his candidacy. Mr. Christie, similarly, has not published his numbers.
On Friday, the campaign of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a wealthy former software engineer, filed its quarterly report, showing he had raised $1.5 million in contributions and lent $10 million to his campaign. He had $3.6 million in cash on hand at the end of the month.
The campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the environmental lawyer challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination, also filed its report Friday, showing more than $6.3 million in contributions and $4.5 million in cash available as of the end of June. .
Terry Sullivan, a Republican strategist who ran Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, said he would indicate which candidates broadcast their total donor numbers.
Another thing to keep in mind is each campaign’s “spend rate,” Sullivan said: what candidates are spending as a percentage of what they’ve brought in and how much they have left in the bank.
Campaign accounts are vital to candidates because, unlike PACs, funds are controlled by the campaign. Also, unlike PACs, campaigns are protected by federal law that guarantees political candidates the lowest possible rate for broadcast advertising.
Mr Sullivan said TV advertising was no longer as important as so-called media exposure gained, through events, viral moments and debates. But they also often cost money: Even on a tight budget, candidates can easily spend a quarter of a million dollars a day hosting events on the road, he said.
“Nobody stops running for president because they think their ideas aren’t good enough anymore or because they’re not qualified,” Mr. Sullivan said. “People stop running for president for one reason, and one reason only: It’s because they run out of money.”
Reid J. Epstein and maggie haberman contributed reporting.