Klobuchar stays alive, but far from top tier

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign has raised enough cash to be relevant in the presidential race, but is falling far short of the top flight of contenders.

Klobuchar’s $3.9 million raised in the second quarter, which ended June 30, is higher than many rivals yet a fraction of the $24.9 million that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg raked in. Former Vice President Joe Biden was second, at $22 million in the quarter.

Klobuchar’s fundraising and the amount of cash on hand put her squarely in a second tier of candidates that have struggled to gain traction in the polls yet are on pace to qualify for entry into upcoming debates.

“She didn’t send a signal that she’s in the top tier right now,” said Kathryn Pearson, a University of Minnesota political science professor. “She has enough money to pay and hire staff, to run a campaign organization, and stay in. And they also show she’s within striking distance to get into that critical September debate.”

Klobuchar’s fundraising slowed in the second quarter. She raised $5.2 million in the first quarter of 2019 after joining the presidential race in mid-February during a snowy kickoff event in Minneapolis.

The top five in the Democratic polls – Biden, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, and Buttigieg – also raised the most in the second quarter. However, there was a wide distance between Buttigieg’s $24.9 million and Harris’s $11.9 million.

The next debate, scheduled for July 30 and 31, features the same criteria as the previous debate in June, meaning most candidates have already qualified.

But the third debate, in September, has tougher entry criteria. Candidates must get 2 percent support in at least four qualifying polls and have 130,000 individual donors.

Klobuchar has achieved 2 percent in three polls. She now has more than 100,000 unique donors and is “on track” to hit the needed amount, Justin Buoen, her campaign manager, said in an emailed statement.

Klobuchar did not address her fundraising numbers during a speech at the National Press Club on Monday. However, she did attempt to distance herself from some of her rivals, without mentioning their names specifically.

“You know, a lot of candidates have a lot of plans,” Klobuchar said. “Me? Well, I have big, bold plans, yes. But I have also given myself and our Congress and our nation deadlines.”

Klobuchar has long had an Iowa-centric strategy, frequently visiting the state and deploying a significant amount of her staff there.

The longer she stays in the race, the more likely one of her rivals will stumble. The most important one to help her chances is Biden, Pearson said.

“If Joe Biden falters, there may be some Democratic voters looking for a moderate candidate and take a closer look at her,” Pearson said.

Minnesota delegation

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is raising a significant amount of cash from her national fame amid repeated Twitter fights with President Donald Trump. 

For the second straight quarter, Omar raised the most money of Minnesota’s eight-member delegation to the U.S. House. Her campaign took in $613,000 in the second quarter, even though her Minneapolis district is among the safest Democratic seats in the country.

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a fellow freshman Democrat who represents a swing district in the south Metro, raised the second-most at $570,000.

U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Dean Phillips, who also are in their first terms, each raised less than $200,000 in the quarter. Hagedorn is a Republican who represents southern Minnesota, while Phillips is a Democrat in the west Metro.