Biden Widens His Financial Lead Over Trump

Biden Widens His Financial Lead Over Trump
Biden Widens His Financial Lead Over Trump

President Biden’s re-election campaign had $71 million on hand at the end of February, more than double the $33.5 million in former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign account, as Democrats continued to expand their fund-raising advantage over Republicans in the presidential race.

The cash disparity was detailed in filings with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, when campaigns and some presidential committees had a deadline to file fund-raising and spending reports for February.

Mr. Trump did pad his campaign’s account in February, adding more than $3 million to the cash on hand since January, when he ended the month with about $30 million on hand. But Mr. Biden’s campaign, which ended January with $56 million on hand, added $15 million in February.

While Mr. Trump is leading Mr. Biden in most national polls, Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party have a growing cash advantage — a gap that has become one of the most pressing issues facing Mr. Trump, who has been busy wooing some of the Republican Party’s biggest financiers at private dinners at Mar-a-Lago, his club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla.

Still, the financial picture remains incomplete: Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are raising money through joint fund-raising committees, which will not file reports until mid-April. These committees transfer funds to the campaigns, which are better able to pay salaries and to buy advertising time at the lower rates guaranteed to candidates.

Over the weekend, Mr. Biden’s team reported raising a combined $53 million in February across the committees backing his re-election bid, with a combined total of $155 million, up from $130 million at the end of January. The April reports will provide more detail on how this money was raised, and from whom.

Mr. Biden, as the incumbent, has been raising money for months alongside the Democratic National Committee — an enormous operation that builds out the fieldwork needed in the general election.

Mr. Biden will also be backed by more than $1 billion that outside groups have pledged to support his bid — money that is separate from the party accounts that filed on Wednesday.

Mr. Trump’s campaign told Fox News on Wednesday that it had raised a combined $20.3 million with a joint fund-raising committee, with $42 million on hand between the two groups.

Some of Mr. Biden’s advantage is that of a traditional incumbent. Mr. Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee only in February, and immediately proceeded to gut the Republican National Committee and fill it with loyalists. The committee itself reported raising $10.7 million in February, and ended the month with $11.3 million on hand.

Mr. Trump’s legal battles have also been a drain on his overall election funds. He faces four criminal indictments along with civil cases, which are proving costly. Last year, committees backing him spent at least $50 million on legal expenses, filings show, and those costs are likely to balloon as he prepares for potential trials this year.

A super PAC backing Mr. Trump, Make America Great Again Inc., reported raising $12.8 million in February, with $25.5 million on hand, up from $19.7 million at the end of January.

The report filed on Wednesday for one of Mr. Trump’s committees — a leadership PAC called Save America, which he has used to pay his legal bills — reported $4 million on hand at the end of February, down from more than $6 million in January.

That change appears to be attributable to an uptick in Mr. Trump’s legal expenses. The group spent nearly $5.6 million in February on bills to the legal teams defending him.