New financial disclosures show the cash shortage facing the majority of Democratic presidential candidates is shrinking one of the most crowded fields in recent history.
Eleven liberal contenders have spent more money than they raised in the second quarter of the year. Eight candidates have less than $1 million in cash on hand and only several top-tier candidates have the financial means to secure their race into the Oval Office, according to Politico.
“This is the doomsday scenario for a lot of campaigns, where they’re grasping for air to keep their campaigns alive and to live another day,” said Washington Democrat strategist Andrew Feldman.
The disclosures show a big gap between the Democratic primary’s five top-tier contenders and the lesser-known candidates who have to spend heavily to meet polling and donor thresholds required to qualify for primary debates.
By contrast, the front-runner candidates have years-long investment in digital infrastructure and reserves built up from earlier fundraising successes that allow them to reach the thresholds required by the Democratic National Committee.
“We had the money in our account to continue to try and qualify for the upcoming debate. But we believed that even if we had done that, that when we looked at the September debate, it just wouldn’t add up,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) told reporters, like many others he saw more money go out than in due to the high costs of staffing national campaigns and building donor lists.
“Some of these candidates need a miracle,” said Mathew Littman, Democrat strategist and former Joe Biden speechwriter. “If you don’t have the money or the infrastructure, what are you going to do to break through? At this point, it’s just very, very tough,” he added.
The next round of Democrat debates on July 30 and 31 will be the last chance for these contenders to bridge the gap and remain solvent.
After the second fundraising quarter, the top-tier contenders include Mayor Pete Buttigieg who led the pack with $24.8 million, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with $21.5 million, Sen. Elizabeth Warren with $19.1 million, Sen. Bernie Sanders with $18.2 million, and Sen. Kamala Harris with $12 million, according to the Business Insider.
By comparison, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign raised $105 million in the second quarter.