The deadline for presidential candidates to file their third quarter campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission was Oct. 15, the night of the fourth Democratic debate, by midnight. While other candidates had released their reports in the days prior, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign filed its report close to the deadline, at 11:08 p.m.
Klobuchar, as her campaign said earlier in the week, raised $4.8 million. But not mentioned in her press release, which emphasized how she raised more money than the last quarter, was that her campaign spent $7.8 million. That means she spent about one-and-a-half times more than she raised, much of it on fundraising, staff, and digital consultants.
Klobuchar’s fundraising total puts her in eighth place among her rivals for the Democratic nomination; she was in sixth place after the first quarter and seventh place for the third.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who is polling on average at around 2 percent, surpassed Klobuchar’s total for the third quarter, raising close to $10 million and spending $4.4 million. Sen. Cory Booker, who often polls close to Klobuchar, raised $6 million but spent $7.1 million.
Of those consistently at the top of polls, only former Vice President Joe Biden spent more money than he raised in the third quarter: He raised $15.7 million but spent 17.6 million (over $1 million of it on private jets). Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $28 million and spent $21.5 million, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $24.6 million and spent $18.7 million.
The relatively high spending from Klobuchar’s campaign comes as she still needs to reach 3 percent support in three more qualifying polls before Nov. 13 in order to qualify for the next debate on Nov. 20.
“Klobuchar’s campaign is likely overspending because she is one of the few candidates in the Democratic primaries who is not among the front-runners but is not so far back that they have realistically no hope of making a push,” said Timothy Lindberg, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota Morris. “Spending now allows her to enhance awareness of her campaign and to establish herself more clearly as a relative moderate within the Democratic field.
“Overall this is an indication that internally the Klobuchar campaign is not giving up and continues to believe they could be a factor later on in this cycle after other candidates drop out,” said Lindberg. “Given the polling numbers Klobuchar is receiving in national polls, however, that is a significant uphill battle. Despite that, with nothing to lose at this point other than depleting her campaign funds, she has little incentive to withdraw from the race.”
Klobuchar has seen a notable upswing in fundraising since pushing back against Warren during the last debate, calling her health care plan a “pipe dream.” Her campaign says the Minnesota senator raised $1.1 million in the 24 hours after the debate.
“We look forward to building on this momentum as we continue to make investments in our early state infrastructure and work to build a grassroots operation that can win big in 2020,” her campaign said in a statement.