Biden's campaign steps up fundraising with record haul in March

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden raised $46.7 million in March for his campaign, his largest one-month haul yet despite the coronavirus health crisis that has disrupted fundraising and hit donor finances.

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN’s Washington studios without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The sum for his fundraising in March, announced in an email by his campaign, was well above the $18.1 million Biden gathered in February.

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Fundraising largely moved online in mid-March as the coronavirus outbreak upended American life, forcing millions of people to stay in their homes and leading presidential campaigns to cancel public events and fundraising dinners.

Biden enters the general election at a significant fundraising disadvantage ahead of the Nov. 3 election against Republican President Donald Trump, a prodigious fundraiser who has been raising money for the general election since 2017.

Biden became his party’s defacto nominee earlier this month when rival Bernie Sanders ended his campaign.

Trump is due to report his fundraising in March on Monday.

Last week, Trump’s campaign said that together with the Republican National Committee it raised more than $212 million in the first three months of the year, giving the president and his allies $240 million in cash in hand.

Biden’s campaign hopes that a new unified front in their party after his opponents dropped out and endorsed him could help. The campaign is also pursing a deal with the Democratic National Committee that would allow it to rake in much larger donations and put it on a more even footing with a similar Republican pact, Reuters has reported. [L1N2C404I]

Biden’s fundraising events have moved exclusively to online forums like Zoom. He has hosted eight such events so far this month, with the campaign asking individuals attending for contributions up to $5,600.

“We haven’t been able to travel, go door-to-door, or hold public events,” Biden said in an email to supporters that was shared by his campaign.

Biden told donors last week that the backing from his ex-competitors and former President Barack Obama helped him bring in $5.25 million over two days that week.

Reporting by Jason Lange in Washington and Grant Smith in New York; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill

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