Pence struggles, Trump is ahead of DeSantis and more presidential fundraising highlights

For GOP candidates, the number of donors determines who makes the debate stage.

July 16, 2023, 8:08 PM

Presidential campaigns had until Saturday to disclose how much money they raised in the second quarter of 2023, offering an early gauge of their war chests and how much enthusiasm they've been able to gin up from the public so far.

Major bids for the White House are expensive, and raking in millions of dollars is seen as key to competing. Beyond long-term considerations, GOP candidates will also have to garner at least 40,000 unique donors before the first primary debate in August to make the stage -- meaning the Saturday deadline also marked a chance to see who could land a spot and who was at risk of missing out.

Candidate-aligned super PACs, which are political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money in support of specific candidates as long as they aren't directly coordinated with those campaigns, will have until the end of the month to report their quarterly hauls.

Here are the highlights from the second-quarter numbers.

The second quarter of 2023 was also when a majority of the 2024 presidential candidates entered the race.

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden’s campaign announced earlier this month that it, along with the Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising committees, raised $72 million since he launched his reelection bid in April.

The groups say they finished the quarter with a massive $77 million on hand.

At the Saturday deadline, Biden's campaign revealed that it raised $19.9 million from April through June.

The figure itself is not gargantuan -- in the second quarter of 2019, during his last campaign, Biden raised $22 million while running in a contested primary.

However, his team is keeping their war chest well-stocked by running a lean operation. They spent a paltry $1.1 million during the three months, paying only four full-time staffers and dishing out less than $1,500 on travel, accommodations and airfare.

Biden was slow to kick off 2024 campaign events after his announcement, holding his first -- and so far his only -- campaign rally nearly two months after he declared. But the president and his team have since made a big push on fundraising.

In the final days before the filing deadline, Biden barnstormed the donor circuit, holding big-dollar fundraisers in New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland.

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump's campaign said in its filing that it took in $15.3 million during the second quarter. It ended up spending $9.1 million in the second quarter, with its biggest expenditure -- $2.3 million -- going to Campaign Inbox for "SMS Advertising" and "Digital Consulting."

The campaign has over 40 staffers on the payroll, including Walt Nauta, who was charged alongside the former president in special counsel Jack Smith's probe into Trump's handling of classified information. (Both have pleaded not guilty.)

Trump's joint fundraising committee says it took in over $35 million from April through June, roughly doubling the $18.8 million it raised in the first three months of 2023.

Trump's joint fundraising committee splits its funds between Trump's official campaign and Save America, his leadership PAC, which pays for, among other things, many of Trump's legal fees.

The joint fundraising committee sends 90% of the money donated to the official campaign, and the remaining 10% goes to the leadership PAC.

The muscular fundraising haul underscores both Trump's status as the early primary GOP front-runner and the continued support he enjoys with Republicans after his two indictments. (He pleaded guilty in both cases.)

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump stands on stage during the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women's Lilac Luncheon, June 27, 2023, in Concord, N.H. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign rally, June 26, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump stands on stage after being introduced during the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women's Lilac Luncheon, June 27, 2023, in Concord, N.H. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign rally, June 26, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Getty Images

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his presidential campaign toward the end of May, meaning he didn't have a full quarter to fundraise -- though he still announced a hefty haul.

DeSantis' campaign said it raised $20 million in the first six weeks since it launched, a substantive haul. However, he spent $8 million -- a high burn rate of 40%. And $3 million of his $20 million can't be touched during the primary and is reserved for the general election.

Never Back Down, the main pro-DeSantis super PAC, also said it raked in $130 million since March, an enormous sum.

Of the $20 million the campaign itself raised, $8.2 million came in its first day, suggesting that fundraising declined after the launch. And of Never Back Down's $130 million, nearly two-thirds was transferred from a Florida state committee formed to back up DeSantis' reelection campaign last year.

The Florida governor's filing also revealed a heavy reliance on big-dollar donors, with only 14% of DeSantis' donors giving $200 or less.

Worries over DeSantis' campaign and whether he can overtake Trump have begun to bubble up in the press, culminating in several staffers being laid off in recent days.

Tim Scott

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott raised $5.8 million in the second quarter.

While the haul marked the highest of any Republican candidate other than DeSantis and Trump, he spent more than he raised. But he still finished June with $21 million in the bank, thanks to a long history as a muscular fundraiser.

Trust In The Mission PAC, the main pro-Scott super PAC, said last week that it raised $19.28 million during the second quarter, though it will not have to file its figures with the FEC until the end of the month.

Nikki Haley

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's presidential campaign raised $5.3 million in the second quarter, ending June with $6.8 million in the bank, her team said in a statement.

Her campaign and affiliated committees took in $7.3 million and entered the third quarter with $9.3 million cash on hand.

Her campaign also said it hauled in a total of $15.6 million since it launched in February.

Stand for America, the main pro-Haley super PAC, took in $18.7 million since its founding and has $17 million cash on hand, according to her campaign, which also says she has hit the donor threshold to appear on the debate stage.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech entrepreneur who has ginned up support by leaning hard into culture war issues, raised over $7.7 million during the second quarter of 2023. However, $5 million of those funds were given to his campaign directly by him, digging into his own vast personal wealth to buoy his campaign.

His campaign is over $15 million in debt -- all to Ramaswamy to make up for the money he's lent his campaign. He ended June with just over $9 million cash on hand.

Still, there were signs of grassroots enthusiasm for Ramaswamy's campaign, which attracted about 65,000 unique donors -- well above the threshold needed to clinch a primary debate spot next month -- for an average contribution size of about $30.

Mike Pence

In a sign of the struggles he is facing with the very party he once helped lead, former Vice President Mike Pence raised only $1.2 million for his campaign during the second quarter, with another $2.7 million going to Committed to America, the main pro-Pence super PAC.

Pence spent just $74,000 and finished June with just under $1.1 million in the bank.

Pence did not join the race until June, and he does not have the benefit of a joint fundraising committee, but his total haul is likely to fuel speculation over Pence's viability as a primary candidate.

Doug Burgum

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum raised $11.7 million in the second quarter -- though $10.2 million of those funds were loaned from his personal bank account. He finished June with $3.6 million cash on hand.

Burgum has been employing a range of gimmicks to beef up his fundraising, including sending 50,000 $20 gift cards to donors who give $1 in an attempt to get enough donors to make the debate stage in August.

Chris Christie

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie raised $1.6 million in the second quarter and finished June with just about the same in the bank.

Christie's campaign has said it surpassed the 40,000 unique donor threshold needed to win a debate spot.

Francis Suarez

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez took in $945,450 in the second quarter and finished June with just shy of $900,000 in the bank.

Suarez, another late entrant in the primary, has also employed creative methods to boost his fundraising, including offering a chance to win front-row seats to soccer star Lionel Messi's first game in Miami to a donor who gives $1.

Asa Hutchinson

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson raised just $502,200 in the second quarter and entered July with $378,677, underscoring his fundraising struggles.

Beyond just the raw fundraising, Hutchinson, since he launched his campaign in April, has gotten just 6,444 unique donors -- meaning he still needs more than 33,000 new donors to make the debate stage next month.

Will Hurd

Former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, who launched his campaign near the end of June, raised $273,512 since his announcement and finished June with $245,118 cash on hand.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of former New York Senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and an anti-vaccine activist, raised more than $6 million in the second quarter, including raising an average of $1 million per day during the last three days of the quarter, his campaign said. He is running as a Democrat.

The campaign said it has approximately $3 million cash on hand.

American Values 2024, the main pro-Kennedy super PAC, also took in $10.25 million, the group said.

Marianne Williamson

Bestselling self-help author Marianne Williamson raised about $920,000 in the second quarter of 2023 and had about $105,000 cash on hand -- far less than her campaign's roughly $270,000 in unpaid debts.

Williamson loaned her campaign $120,000 in the second quarter in addition to the $100,000 she loaned in the first quarter. She is also running as a Democrat.

ABC News' Abby Cruz, Lalee Ibssa and Nicholas Kerr contributed to this report.