- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday announced a fourth-quarter fundraising haul of more than $24.7 million, setting a high bar for his rivals in the Democratic presidential race.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor was the first presidential candidate to announce his final fundraising numbers for 2019.

The nearly 25 million raised in the last three months eclipsed $19.2 million collected in the previous quarter and brought his 2019 total to more than $76 million.

“It’s clear the American people are responding to Pete’s message of rallying our country together around bold solutions that will build the coalition we need to beat Trump and usher in a new era the day after Trump leaves office,” said Buttigieg campaign spokesman Chris Meagher.

Mr. Buttigieg, an openly-gay mayor of a small midwestern city, has emerged as a top contender in the crowded Democratic field. He has continued to build support as many of his high-profile opponents have either plateaued or began to backslide.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who had topped the polls in early-voting states, has seen her poll numbers sag and is expected to end 2019 with declining fund-raising numbers.

She netted nearly $25 million in the third quarter but appeared to be struggling to top $20 million in the fourth quarter. She told supporters in a fund-raising email last week that she had raised just $17 million.

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who led the field in third-quarter fundraising with $25.3 million, is expected to put up big numbers again for the fourth quarter.

He is locked in a close contest with Ms. Warren for the far-left lane in the race.

Despite leading in national polls, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden had a disappointing third-quarter haul of $15 million and will likely bounce back in the final quarter.

Mr. Buttigieg laid down the fund-raising marker as the contest to take on President Trump entered 2020 and shifted into high gear, with less than five weeks until the kickoff Iowa caucuses.

He is running in fourth place with 8.2% of the vote in the Real Clear Politics average of recent national polls.

Mr. Biden remains atop the heap with 28.4%, followed by Mr. Sanders with 18.9% and Ms. Warren with 15.2% in the polling average.

The Buttigieg campaign said that of the $76 million raised in 2019, 98 percent of the contributions were less than $200 and the average contribution was approximately $38.

In the fourth quarter, Mr. Buttigieg received 326,000 individuals contributions with an average donation of roughly $33.

“These figures are even more astounding considering that Pete started this race less than a year ago as an unknown candidate, with just a few staffers and zero dollars in the bank,” said Mr. Meagher. “But what we did have was a shared vision of bringing a new kind of politics to Washington and changing the trajectory of our country.”

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