(CNN)Democratic donors donated $289 million through the online fundraising platform ActBlue during the second quarter of this year, in what the group touts as a sign of early grassroots energy ahead of next year’s hotly contested midterm elections.
In all, Democratic grassroots contributors have donated more than $602 million through ActBlue during the first six months of the year, giving the fundraising powerhouse the biggest start to an election cycle in its 17-year history, officials said of numbers shared first with CNN. This year’s haul is more than double the money raised through ActBlue in the first half of 2017 in the last midterm elections. In the April-to-June period alone, more than 2 million people donated — with more than a third contributing for the first time in the 2020 cycle, the group said.”As we head into the 2022 midterm elections, people across the country are showing enthusiasm and long-term commitment to the causes and candidates they believe in,” Erin Hill, the group’s executive director said in a statement.The group said the number of donors to House and Senate campaigns in the second quarter of this year grew by 86% over the same period in 2019.Read MoreThe early fundraising previews the high stakes and high costs of the 2022 midterms. Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the House, and Republicans need to net just one seat in the evenly divided Senate to seize control of the chamber. Fundraising totals released earlier this month showed some of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats, stockpiling cash for the fights ahead. Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly and Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, who both must defend seats next year that they just won in 2020 special elections, pulled in big sums during the second quarter, collecting $6 million and nearly $7.2 million, respectively.More than half of their donations from individuals came in small amounts, campaign records show.WinRed, the online fundraising platform launched by Republicans in 2019 as a counterweight Democratic grassroots fundraising, also has seen its totals climb. Earlier this month, it announced it had processed $131 million during the April-to-June fundraising quarter, a $7 million increase over the first three months of the year. WinRed’s second-quarter haul included more than $51 million from first-time campaign donors, it said. ActBlue and WinRed are slated to file reports later this week with the federal regulators, detailing their political activity.The money collected through the ActBlue supports a wide array of Democratic candidates and causes. In all, donors used the platform to contribute to more than 11,600 candidates, committees and nonprofit organizations during the second quarter, the group said.ActBlue officials declined to break out the total dollars that went to candidates versus nonprofits in the three-month period. But a sizable share of the two million people who donated during the quarter — nearly half a million individuals — used ActBlue or a sister fundraising tool, AB Charities, for nonprofit giving, officials said.