Former President Donald J. Trump trailed President Biden in campaign money at the end of 2023, but he dominated fundraising last year by at least one crucial metric: his number of small donors. An analysis of Federal Election Commission data by DailyExpertNews shows that about 668,000 donors gave less than $200 to Mr. Trump, compared with 564,000 for Mr. Biden.
Small donors have always been inherent to Trump's political momentum. Not only have they powered his three presidential bids, but they are also a vital measure of his broad appeal to an immovable grassroots base. Most major donors have kept their distance from Mr. Trump so far this cycle.
Mr. Biden, on the other hand, has received broad support from major donors, which is not reflected in this data set. One measure of voter enthusiasm is strong support from small donors. Individual donors can repeatedly donate up to $3,300 to a candidate's campaign fund for a primary election, and another $3,300 for the general election.
Mr. Trump also has more small donors than Mr. Biden in the critical battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, The Times analysis shows.
There are a few factors that may help explain Trump's lead. First, Mr. Trump began his presidential bid in late 2022 and had a rolling start through 2023, while Mr. Biden only formally declared his candidacy for re-election in April.
Trump has also benefited from an unusual set of circumstances: His two biggest fundraising moments of 2023 came on the days state officials in New York and Georgia indicted and booked him, in April and August. The criminal cases against him have served as a catalyst for his fundraising.