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Trump dwarfs Biden in latest fundraising numbers after felony convictions

U.S. President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Susan Walsh / AP Photo) U.S. President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Susan Walsh / AP Photo)
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Donald Trump's campaign outraised U.S. President Joe Biden by more than US$60 million last month, according to federal filings that detailed the Republican fundraising explosion sparked by Trump's felony convictions.

Biden's campaign and the Democratic National Committee together raised a robust US$85 million in May and reported US$212 million in the bank at the end of the month. The strong showing does not include roughly US$40 million raised by Biden and his top surrogates in recent days — or a separate US$20 million donation from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to pro-Biden groups.

Still, Trump's fundraising for, for one month at least, seemed to dwarf Biden's, according to the filings made public Thursday.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said it raised a jaw-dropping US$141 million in May, including tens of millions donated immediately after Trump was convicted of 34 felonies in the New York hush money case. At the same time, billionaire Timothy Mellon donated a stunning US$50 million to a pro-Trump super PAC the day after Trump's guilty verdict, according to the filings.

Overall, Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee reported more than US$170 million in the bank at the end of May, although Biden's campaign questioned whether the groups were devoting resources to cover Trump's legal fees.

“Our strong and consistent fundraising program grew by millions of people in May, a clear sign of strong and growing enthusiasm for the president and vice president every single month,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez. “The money we continue to raise matters, and it’s helping the campaign build out an operation that invests in reaching and winning the voters who will decide this election –- a stark contrast to Trump’s PR stunts and photo-ops that he’s pretending is a campaign."

Taken together, the numbers detailed in the campaigns' latest Federal Election Commission filings suggest Democrats may still maintain a cash advantage in the 2024 presidential contest. But almost four months before Election Day, Trump's side is closing the gap — if it isn't closed already.

The new fundraising figures also underscore the extent to which the rules of presidential politics are being rewritten in the Trump era.

At almost any other time in U.S. history, a presidential candidate would have been forced to leave an election after being convicted of dozens of felonies. But in 2024, Trump's guilty verdict has instead fuelled a massive fundraising surge that puts his team in a position to ramp up advertising and swing- state infrastructure just as voters begin paying closer attention to the election.

Backed by Mellon's massive donation, the pro-Trump super PAC known as MAGA Inc. on Thursday reserved US$3.5 million in television advertising set to begin July 3 across Georgia and Pennsylvania, according to the media tracking firm AdImpact. Overall, the group reported a US$68.8-million haul for May, ending the month with US$93.7 million in the bank.

Mellon has been among the biggest donors to Trump and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., although his support for Kennedy may be fading.

Kennedy raised US$2.6 million last month and finished May with US$6.4 million in the bank. The vast majority of his fundraising total came from running mate Nicole Shanahan, a wealthy Silicon Valley lawyer. The Kennedy campaign spent more than it raised for the month.

The numbers reported Thursday did not include anything raised in June, including roughly US$40 million raised by Biden and his top surrogates in recent days. The vast majority came from a glitzy fundraiser last Saturday with movie stars and former U.S. president Barack Obama in Los Angeles that raised more than US$30 million. First lady Jill Biden also has been on her own personal fundraising swing that has brought in US$1.5 million.

Meanwhile, Biden also got a big boost from Bloomberg.

The billionaire philanthropist, who briefly ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, sent US$19 million to the pro-Biden group Future Forward in addition to sending the legal maximum of US$929,600 to the Biden Victory Fund, according to a person familiar with the transfers.

Bloomberg also formally endorsed Biden on Thursday. “I stood with Joe Biden in 2020, and I am proud to do so again,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The Biden campaign said the vast majority of its latest fundraising came from grassroots donors such as nurses, teachers and retirees. Overall, the Biden campaign and Democratic National Committee attracted more than three million new donors last month, according to a statement from the campaign.

“While Trump is leeching off his billionaire sycophants, our campaign represents the voices of America, and we’re honored to have their support as we race toward November,” Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison said.

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AP writers Seung Min Kim in Washington and Jill Colvin in New York contributed. 

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