Democratic grassroots fired up and ready to give a lot of money

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The Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue saw small-dollar donations for congressional candidates in the first quarter of this year rise significantly from the amount raised during the same period of the 2020 cycle.

For the first three months of 2024, Democratic grassroots donors gave a total of $151 million to House and Senate races, representing a 20% increase in giving to Senate races over 2020 and a 29% bump in total donations to House races, according to Punchbowl News

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In 2020, ActBlue reported processing a total of $121.3 million for congressional candidates in the first quarter of the cycle.

Overall, ActBlue processed more than 10.7 million contributions from 2.4 million donors who gave $460 million to different candidates and causes. The average donation was $42.73.

The news comes amid persistent signs of donor fatigue among Republican voters. Small-dollar donations to the Trump campaign and Republicans are “way down” since 2019 and 2020, The Washington Post reported earlier this month. House Democrats and Democratic candidates dominated their GOP counterparts in the first quarter of 2024, as did Senate Democrats in the most competitive races of the cycle. 

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President Joe Biden’s fundraising has also roundly eclipsed that of Donald Trump’s, who has fallen $75 million behind Biden, according to analysis by the Financial Times.

But beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars that well-heeled donors will lavish on both parties and their candidates, money raised through small-dollar donations like those processed by ActBlue says more about the race than almost any other measure.  

First, those donations go directly to the candidates themselves, rather than super PACs, which makes spending far more efficient due, in part, to the ad rates candidates get in the final months of the campaign.

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But second, small-dollar donations are a measure of enthusiasm. Regardless of whether these small-dollar Democratic donors feel enthused by the prospect of electing a Democratic candidate or perhaps defeating a Republican one, they definitely seem enthused judging by the level of their contributions thus far. 

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