Cory Booker Lags Leaders but Hits Fund-Raising Goal to Stay in Race



Oct. 1, 2019

Senator Cory Booker’s presidential campaign said he needed to raise $1.7 million in 10 days to stay in the race.


Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey raised more than $6 million in the past three months, his campaign said on Tuesday, his best fund-raising quarter yet but one that still falls short of the leading candidates’ hauls.

The end of the third quarter provided Mr. Booker’s campaign with one notable success: meeting a self-imposed $1.7 million fund-raising goal in the final 10 days of September. The campaign told supporters that that amount was necessary to continue his candidacy, and that without it, Mr. Booker would have dropped out.

The push gave Mr. Booker his biggest 10-day fund-raising period of the campaign. More than a third of what the campaign raised over the past three months came in the last 10 days.

Nonetheless, Mr. Booker’s total fund-raising since his campaign began, roughly $19 million, lags behind even what Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised in the third quarter.

The campaign also crossed the 165,000 unique donor threshold during its end-of-quarter blitz, meeting the new requirement set by the Democratic National Committee to make the November debate stage. But Mr. Booker is still short one qualifying poll. (He has already qualified for the October debate two weeks from now.)

The campaign did not release its current cash on hand or average donation size on Tuesday, saying it was still calculating those figures.

Mr. Booker’s financial struggles have mirrored his similarly stagnant polling, constantly in the low single digits. But he continues to rack up endorsements in key early states: His 84 endorsements in New Hampshire alone are more than those received by any other Democratic candidate, according to his campaign.

Though every campaign is starting to dig into its war chest as the primary season nears its final winter sprint, Mr. Booker’s campaign has been particularly dependent on a steady flow of cash.

Since he announced his candidacy in February, Mr. Booker has maintained one of the largest teams of paid staffers on the ground in Iowa, and has had substantial paid staff in New Hampshire and South Carolina since March.

Mr. Booker’s campaign cited this costly investment in early-state infrastructure as the key reason he needed to raise $1.7 million at the end of September.

“Cory got in this race to win it and to beat Donald Trump. With four and a half months until voting begins, he is well-positioned to do just that — if he has the resources to support and grow our team,” said Addisu Demissie, Mr. Booker’s campaign manager, in a message to supporters. “But if our campaign is not in a financial position to grow, he’s not going to continue to consume resources and attention that can be used to focus on beating Donald Trump, which needs to be everyone’s first priority in this election.”

After hitting its fund-raising goal, the campaign said it would begin to expand again and hire 40 new staff members in the next six weeks.

To help reach that final $1.7 million goal, Mr. Booker held fund-raisers on six consecutive nights in late September, bouncing from New York City to Philadelphia to New Jersey to New England.

His fourth quarter was scheduled to kick off with three fund-raisers on the first day of October, in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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