Both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden agree that the 2020 election is the most important election ever. The data indicates that it will also be the most expensive election ever. Trump began raising money for his reelection campaign in the early days of his presidency, building up a war chest dubbed "insurmountable" by some experts. But Biden rode Democratic enthusiasm to smash fundraising records and surpass the Trump campaign's fundraising haul during the final months of the election cycle. In addition to the candidates, outside groups backed by billionaire donors and closely tied "dark money" groups are also spending unprecedented amounts of money to influence the 2020 election.
Amount raised by candidates, so far: $3,159.6 million
Campaign funding by active candidates
(Lighter bar represents candidate committee money; darker bar represents outside money.)
Joe Biden is the former United States vice president under Pres. Barack Obama. During his time as vice president, Biden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also became a favorite subject of comedic internet memes. Before being elected to the vice presidency, Biden served as a senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009.
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $531,009,149
OUTSIDE MONEY: $171,312,590
Billionaire real estate developer, businessman and television personality Donald Trump — who had never held public office — flirted with the idea of running for president for decades before jumping into the 2016 race. After running an unconventional and underfunded campaign in 2016 but receiving free media attention valued at about $5 billion, Trump’s reelection campaign looks to be flush with cash. Having declared his 2020 bid the day he took office, Trump has drawn unprecedented fundraising hauls, attracting both large and small donors.
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $476,324,349
OUTSIDE MONEY: $118,394,412
Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, running as an alternative to Republicans and Democrats. She ran as the party’s nominee for vice president in the 1996 presidential election.
CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $1,929,971
OUTSIDE MONEY: $0
Candidates who have dropped out of the 2020 presidential race
Justin Amash is an independent congressman from Michigan. First elected during the Tea Party movement, Amash left the Republican Party in 2019, citing increasing partisanship in Congress. Amash is an outspoken critic of President Trump and voted to impeach him.
Michael Bennet is a senator from Colorado. He rose to national attention in January after he delivered a dramatic, passionate floor speech denouncing Ted Cruz’s position on the government shutdown.
Michael Bloomberg is the former mayor of New York and a billionaire businessman. Bloomberg switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 2018 and spent millions to elect Democrats that year. The richest man to run for president, Bloomberg is self-funding his campaign and refusing to accept contributions.
Sen. Cory Booker is a Democratic senator from New Jersey and the first African American to represent his home state in that role. Prior to his time in the Senate, he was mayor of Newark, New Jersey. “Street Fight,” a documentary about Booker’s mayoral-run, received an Oscar nomination in 2006.
Steve Bullock is the governor of Montana. He rose to prominence as a staunch opponent of Citizens United and "dark money," enacting some of the country's toughest transparency laws. He was reelected as governor in 2016 in a state Trump won by 20 points.
Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The 37-year-old Navy veteran is the first openly-gay Democrat to run for President and received high praise for robust economic growth in South Bend under his watch.
Castro is the former Housing and Urban Development secretary, serving under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017. He previously served as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014.
John K. Delaney is a Democratic congressman from Maryland. Though proud of his union roots, Delaney is a centrist who wants to end excessive partisanship in Washington. After being elected to Congress in 2012, he founded the Artificial Intelligence Caucus and co-founded the Climate Solutions Caucus. If elected, Delaney would be the second-ever Catholic president after John F. Kennedy.
Tulsi Gabbard is a congresswoman from Hawaii. A 37-year-old Iraq War veteran, Gabbard pushes progressive policies such as Medicare for All and a new Glass–Steagall Act, and has spoken out against U.S. efforts to force regime changes in foreign countries. She gained national attention in 2016 when she stepped down as DNC vice chair to endorse Bernie Sanders' campaign.
Kirsten Gillibrand is a senator from New York. She has positioned herself as an advocate for women and LGBT people, spearheading efforts to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policies originally implemented during the Clinton administration and becoming the first Democrat in the Senate to call upon Al Franken to resign after he was accused of sexual harassment.
Former Sen. Mike Gravel represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 to 1981 and gained national attention for his staunch opposition to the Vietnam War. He first ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, where his campaign gained little momentum despite viral ads. Gravel said his 2020 goal is not to compete in primaries, but to reach 65,000 donors to qualify for the debates.
Sen. Kamala D. Harris is a Democratic senator for California. Prior to her election in 2016, she was the attorney general for California in Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. As a senator, Harris has consistently advocated for immigrants. Both of Harris’s parents immigrated to the United States, her mother from India and her father from Jamaica.
John Hickenlooper is the former governor of Colorado. Considered a moderate during the first half of his tenure, Hickenlooper worked across the aisle to support fracking efforts in the state but lost the support of many of his Republican colleagues when he supported tighter gun control measures following the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
Jay Inslee is the governor of Washington. A former longtime Democratic member of the House, Inslee has gained national recognition for his initial success in blocking the Trump administration's travel ban and his outspokenness on climate change issues.
Amy Klobuchar is a senator for Minnesota. She is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer rights. Klobuchar's name-recognition recently spiked when an exchange between herself and Brett Kavanaugh during the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation hearing became heated. Within days, the incident was parodied on Saturday Night Live. Before being elected to the Senate, Klobuchar was a prosecutor.
Wayne Messam is the mayor of Miramar, Fla., a city of 140,000 located north of Miami. As mayor, he declared Miramar a sanctuary city and led an effort to stop construction of a new oil well in a nearby section of the Everglades. He previously served as a member of the City Commission and was a star wide receiver at Florida State University.
Seth Moulton is a congressman from Massachusetts. An Iraq War veteran, Moulton has focused on electing Democratic veterans to Congress through his Serve America PAC. The three-term congressman calls for a "new generation" of leaders and unsuccessfully tried to oust Nancy Pelosi from House Democratic leadership.
Beto O'Rourke is a former congressman from Texas. O'Rourke gained nationwide attention - and smashed numerous fundraising records - during his unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign against Ted Cruz.
Deval Patrick is a former two-term governor of Massachusetts. An executive at Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, Patrick entered the race late in an attempt to draw in both moderate and progressive voters.
Tim Ryan is a congressman from Ohio. The 45-year-old Belt progressive supports progressive ideas such as Medicare For All and criticizes free trade agreements such as NAFTA. Ryan first gained national attention for his failed 2016 attempt to supplant Nancy Pelosi as Democratic House leader.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is an independent senator from Vermont running as a Democrat. He ran for president in 2016, and although he lost in the primary to Hillary Clinton, he still has a fiercely dedicated fan base of economically progressive liberals backing him. Sanders’ candidacy also made more visible the Democratic Socialists of America, a far-left political organization that often operates within the Democratic party.
Mark Sanford served as governor of South Carolina for two terms and later as a U.S. representative from the Palmetto State. He is the third prominent Republican to challenge President Donald Trump. Running as a fiscal conservative, Sanford has criticized Trump for letting deficits rise to near-record highs.
Joe Sestak is the former Representative for Pennsylvania's 7th District, having served 2 terms, from 2007-2011. Throughout his two terms in the House, Sestak was tied closely with the securities and investment and education industries and served on the House Armed Services Committee. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served for a time as a three-star admiral as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs., Sestak is drawing upon his career in global affairs and understanding of military operations to set himself aside from the wide Democratic primary field.
Tom Steyer is a former hedge fund chief and top donor to Democratic outside groups who is pushing Democrats to impeach President Donald Trump. Despite being a billionaire himself, Steyer launched his campaign by decrying the influence of wealthy individuals in the political process.
Eric Swalwell is the representative from California's 15th District. The 37-year-old congressman gained notoriety through his jabs at Trump while on the House Intelligence Committee.
Joe Walsh is a former congressman from Illinois and talk radio host. Elected to the House in 2010 during the Tea Party movement, Walsh has emerged as one of Trump's most vocal Republican critics.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the senior senator from Massachusetts. She announced an exploratory committee for President on Dec. 31. While in the House, Warren gained notoriety as an advocate for greater regulation of Wall Street in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and since her election to the Senate in 2013 she has used her seat to solidify her role as a progressive figurehead.
William Weld is a former governor of Massachusetts. He is the first high-profile Republican to explore a primary challenge against President Donald Trump in 2020. Weld ran as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee in 2016 with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as an alternative to Trump, and has openly criticized Trump for his treatment of U.S. allies.
Marianne Williamson is an author, public speaker and activist. The Houston, Texas native gained recognition as the spiritual counselor for Oprah Winfrey. Williamson made her first foray into politics in 2014 when she finished fourth in an 18-way Democratic primary for California's 33rd District seat.
Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur who has announced he will run for president as a Democrat. He is the founder of Venture for America, a nonprofit dedicated to generating jobs in cities that suffered in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Yang is in favor of a Universal Basic Income, $1,000 a month from the government to every American age 18 or older.
Bill de Blasio is the two-term mayor of New York City and the third mayor to join the crowded presidential primary. De Blasio pursued a number of progressive policies as mayor like universal pre-K education and affordable housing.
NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2020 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released electronically on 09/21/20.
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