Capitol Report: As Monday brings fundraising deadline for 2020 Democrats, Booker says he’ll stay in race

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Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker said Monday that he was staying in the 2020 race after achieving a fundraising goal tied to the end of the third quarter.

With the quarter ending on Monday, presidential campaigns are pushing for last-minute donations. Some contenders could reveal their fundraising hauls for the period as soon as Tuesday, ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline when totals must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission.

Booker’s campaign had warned on Sept. 21 that the coming 10 days would determine whether he could stay in this race, saying it was aiming to raise $1.7 million over the period. The campaign then said on Monday that it had reached its goal.

“There’s a viable path forward, so I’m staying in this race because I know we can win it,” tweeted Booker, who ranks ninth among the 2020 Democrats in the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls, with 1.5% support.

Former Housing and Urban Development chief Julián Castro, who is eighth in the average of polls with 1.7% support, also cautioned potential donors in recent days that the end of his campaign could be nearing, though his campaign manager later played down the warning as “unfortunately hyperbolic writing in a fundraising email.”

The third quarter’s final days have been highlighted by a flurry of fundraising around House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign said it and the Republican National Committee raised $5 million in the 24 hours following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s launch of the inquiry, with supporters contributing to an “Impeachment Defense Task Force.”

Democratic campaigns’ fundraising requests tied to the impeachment effort included one from former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who asked for donations in an email that stressed that he has supported impeachment since 2017. And California Sen. Kamala Harris asked for money to fight back amid “attacks on anyone who supports impeachment.”

To make the November debate, Democratic candidates must have at least 165,000 unique donors, as well as hit 3% support in at least four national or early state polls — or 5% in two early state polls. The total number of the party’s White House hopefuls remains at a still-high level of 19, even after a handful of politicians have dropped out of the race for the 2020 nomination.

In the second quarter, Pete Buttigieg raised the most money among the Democratic presidential hopefuls, as the South Bend, Ind., mayor brought in $24.8 million during the period. But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had raised the most overall in the 2020 race as of the end of the second quarter, scoring $36.4 million, with that total not including $10 million transferred from his Senate account.