Three years after beating Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin’s presidential primary, Bernie Sanders has topped the wide field of Democratic candidates in the burgeoning race for donations in the state.
The new fundraising figures are the latest sign the Vermont senator continues to court some Badger State Democrats, following a recent Marquette University Law School poll that showed Sanders leading the party’s field as 32 percent rated him a “top choice” for president. The Democratic presidential primary is about a year away, and Wisconsin is seen as a key state in the November 2020 presidential sweepstakes.
In all, Sanders logged $41,435 in campaign donations from Wisconsinites over the first three months of the year, according to FEC data, placing him first among a score of contenders. Those donations, coming from 121 individuals, came from across the state — Eau Claire, Madison, Milwaukee, Mosinee (where Trump rallied supporters in October) and more.
WisPolitics.com used the latest campaign reports filed with the FEC to compare candidates’ fundraising prowess from Jan. 1 through March 31 in terms of total donations from state donors.
In all, the field raised $115,736 from individual donors over the period. The results showed Sanders leading the pack, with U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris a distant second.
The former California attorney general, who was rated as a “top choice” for president by 11 percent of respondents in the Marquette poll last month, raised $19,957 from individual Wisconsin donors.
And rounding out the top five were: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts ($14,693); Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana ($12,450); and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota ($11,037).
Seventeen percent of respondents called Warren a “top choice” as a Democratic presidential candidate. Buttigieg was at 7 percent, while Klobuchar hit 8 percent.
Of the top fundraising candidates, just two visited Wisconsin after officially launching their 2020 presidential campaigns this year: Sanders, whose blustery April 12 visit to Madison came after the first quarter fundraising period ended; and Klobuchar, whose visit to Eau Claire back in mid-February marked her first presidential campaign stop.
No other Democratic presidential candidate raised more than $10,000 from Wisconsin donors over the period, according to their fundraising reports.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden — the second-highest ranked Democratic candidate in the April poll — didn’t have a first-quarter fundraising report at the FEC site. He only officially got into the race earlier this month.
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, of Massachusetts, also didn’t have fundraising figures posted over the first three months of the year. His bid for the presidency began April 22.
Following is a breakdown of the other Democratic presidential candidates’ donations from Wisconsin:
• Andrew Yang, who first filed as a presidential candidate in November 2017, logged $4,343 in donations from three Wisconsin individuals over the period. Yang is an entrepreneur and founder of Venture for America.
The biggest donor to his campaign, who contributed nearly $3,100, is Wausau-based Ming Tao Jiang, the CEO of Marathon Ginseng. Yang’s other two contributors listed themselves as software testers or developers at Verona’s Epic Systems.
• Beto O’Rourke listed $4,323 in Wisconsin donations during the first quarter. The former Texas congressman and U.S. Senate candidate has visited Wisconsin twice this year — once in mid-February and once in March, days after he officially launched his presidential bid.
His donations were spread out across 14 individuals, with Residential Property Management Director Jim Miller, of Wauwatosa, logging the largest contribution, at $715. None of the contributors listed donated on March 17, the day O’Rourke visited Madison and Milwaukee.
• U.S. Sen. Cory Booker raised $2,345 from Wisconsin residents in the first three months of the year. Booker, of New Jersey, made his first stop in Wisconsin as a presidential candidate April 23, weeks after the first-quarter fundraising period ended.
Booker’s biggest total contribution came from Madison resident Patrick Hughes, who gave $600 over the period. Hughes, who listed himself as not employed, is one of nine Wisconsin donors to Booker’s campaign.
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a former U.S. representative, reported getting $2,100 from four Wisconsin donors over the period.
Delafield resident Michael Jury, who listed himself as not employed, logged the highest total donations over the period at $1,100.
• U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii, raised $1,480 from six people in the state, who listed their addresses as in the Milwaukee area as well as Wausau and Menomonie.
• U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, listed $914 in donations from two Wisconsin residents: Sidney Grossberg, a Milwaukee physician, and Chad Speight, a Monona alder and president of Chads Design Build.
• Author Marianne Williamson received $410 from one Wisconsin donor over the period: Mary Vernon, of Madison, who listed herself as not employed.
• And former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper raised $250 from one Wisconsin donor, FEC data shows. That is retired Mequon resident Alden Taylor.
The other five Democratic presidential candidates — Julian Castro, who spoke April 13 at the state Democratic Party’s Founders Day Dinner, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, John Delaney and Wayne Messam — didn’t list any Wisconsin donations to their campaigns over the first quarter of the year, according to the FEC.
The Capitol Report is written by editorial staff at WisPolitics.com, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
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