Democratic small-dollar donors gave $1 billion through the online fund-raising platform ActBlue in 2019, officials said Thursday, highlighting the explosion of online giving on the left heading into the presidential election year.
Of the 6 million donors who gave to Democratic candidates and organizations in 2019, half were first-time donors, officials said, pointing to the growing base of contributors who are giving online. Forty percent of the new donors gave multiple times, according to ActBlue, in a sign of the new donors’ sustained political interest and engagement.
Donors contributing in low increments online gave $343 million in the final three months of 2019, officials said.
The surge in online low-dollar donations points to the enthusiasm among Democratic voters and the increasing sophistication of campaigns and organizations in reaching donors on digital platforms and making it convenient for them to give money.
More than half of the donations on ActBlue in 2019 were made on mobile, marking the first year the majority of donations came through mobile devices, they said.
The Republican Party also stepped up its small-dollar online fund-raising efforts in 2019 with the launch of WinRed, a donation platform modeled after ActBlue.
WinRed announced this week that it had raised $101 million since it launched in the summer of 2019, with almost $70 million in the final three months of the year.
WinRed officials credited House Democrats’ impeachment of President Trump for a surge of online donations on the platform in the final months of the year, thanks to donors showing their support for the president and the Republican Party amid the impeachment inquiry and vote.
All Republican state parties and the majority of GOP Senate and House campaign committees have now adopted WinRed, officials said.
Erin Hill, ActBlue’s executive director, said in a statement that the record-breaking Democratic online donations are a positive sign for the party and for its eventual presidential nominee, who will face Trump’s formidable small-dollar online fund-raising machine.
Congressional Black Caucus member backs Buttigieg
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg received his first endorsement from a member of the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday when former Maryland lieutenant governor Anthony Brown announced his support for the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
‘‘I firmly believe that Pete Buttigieg is the guy to lead our nation after we defeat Donald Trump and have to pick up the pieces and repair the damage of the last four years,’’ Brown said in an interview. ‘‘He’s well-versed and studied and really diligent about the issues from a policy standpoint.’’
As Buttigieg has vaulted to the top tier of the Democratic field, he has struggled to attract support from African-American voters and leaders. Brown will serve as a national campaign cochairman, the first endorser the campaign has named to that position.
Brown, 58, is a relatively junior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, having been elected to Congress in 2016. Two years earlier, Brown lost a governor’s race in heavily Democratic Maryland to current Republican Governor Larry Hogan, in part because of a significant drop-off in Democratic turnout.
Brown acknowledged Buttigieg has received criticism for how he has approached racial issues in South Bend, but he said Buttigieg has not shied away from the critiques.
‘‘We all suffer criticism,’’ Brown said. ‘‘The question is, how well do you take that criticism and sort of transform it into an overall constructive approach to addressing the challenges that are being raised? And I think he is really good at that and is open to it.’’
Buttigieg’s campaign plans to deploy Brown on the campaign trail in the coming weeks, much of which the candidate will spend in Iowa during the final push to the Feb. 3 caucuses. That effort also includes new television ads.
The ads running in Iowa and New Hampshire feature Buttigieg speaking about various issues, but the one in South Carolina consists of black members of the South Bend community talking about how Buttigieg listened to their concerns.