U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s first 2020 fundraiser with former President Barack Obama raised $7.6 million from more than 175,000 people on Tuesday, the campaign said, the most Biden has collected at a single event thus far.
The virtual event came on the heels of the Democratic Party and Biden’s campaign outraising President Donald Trump in May for the first time, $80.8 million to $74 million.
The Republican president, who has been campaigning for a second term since 2017, still has a spending advantage ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Trump’s campaign, party and other fundraising entities had $265 million in cash at the end of May. The Democrats and Biden, who launched his campaign in April 2019, held a combined $122 million, not including some fundraising entities that have not disclosed their records.
Early in the 2020 campaign, Biden’s weak fundraising numbers compared with some of his Democratic competitors were a source of concern. But his fundraising from donors has picked up in recent weeks as his lead in national opinion polls grew and the country reacted to incidents of police brutality.
The event on Tuesday also showed the drawing power of Obama. He endorsed Biden, his former vice president, in April but has not been actively campaigning for him as in-person events were largely canceled because of the coronavirus.
A Trump campaign spokesman, Ken Farnaso, said Biden’s campaign was recruiting Obama “to help give sleepy Joe some life” but that they could not match the enthusiasm of Trump supporters.
The Biden campaign is hoping to come close to matching Trump’s war chest so it can counter his advertising, get-out-the-vote operations in battleground states, and eventual campaign travel with their own.
A high-dollar fundraising event last week for Biden hosted by Senator Elizabeth Warren took in $6 million from 620 donors.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax in Princeton, New Jersey; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)