Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker says he has reached his self-imposed fundraising goal to continue his White House bid.
“I have some incredible news, friend. Last night at 8:16 p.m., we reached our goal of $1.7 million — a full day ahead of the deadline we set for ourselves,” the Democrat from New Jersey wrote in an email to supporters on Monday morning.
“Thanks to this outpouring of support, we see a viable path forward to continue growing a winning campaign. I’m staying in this race — and I’m in it to win,” Booker said.
Nine days ago the senator from New Jersey announced that if he didn’t haul in $1.7 million by the end of the month – which marks the end of the July-September third quarter of fundraising – he would likely end his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Booker, who declared his candidacy for the White House in early February, quickly built a formidable operation in the early voting primary and caucus states. The large staff on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other early voting states is expensive to maintain. Top Booker advisers have warned that while the campaign can continue at its current size and strength, it needs more funding if it wants to expand and compete with the top-tier Democratic nomination rivals.
Booker raised $4.5 million in the April-June second quarter of fundraising, far behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“We got to a point where we saw candidates that were raising multiples of what we were raising,” Booker told reporters on Thursday during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “We were not going to be able to stay in competition with them unless we raise significant money, so I told the truth.”
With that in mind, Booker told his supporters on Monday that “this won’t be the last mountain we have to climb on our way to the nomination — we have a lot more money to raise to continue being competitive with the better-funded campaigns in this race. I’ll be asking more of my supporters as we move forward in this campaign together.”
And he didn’t waste any time, setting another goal of raising an additional $217,000 by the end of Monday to put him over the $2 million mark since announcing his original pitch nine days ago.
The Booker campaign has pushed back against descriptions of the fundraising goal as a kind of gimmick. But the candidate himself acknowledged one of his intentions was to pump up fundraising.
Asked last week by a reporter from New Hampshire Public Radio “if this is just a gambit to raise money or are you really on the cusp of not having enough money,” Booker answered “both.”
While Booker qualified for the third and fourth round Democratic presidential primary debates, he has struggled in polling, averaging in the low to mid-single digits, far behind the top-tier contenders.
The Booker campaign highlighted on Sunday that they’ve reached the higher donor threshold to qualify for November’s fifth-round debate. To make the stage, candidates receive contributions from at least 165,000 individual donors – including a minimum of 600 donors each in at least 20 states or territories.
But Booker remains short of reaching the polling criteria.