• The Star Staff

Even if the polls are really off, Trump is still in trouble

By Shane Goldmacher

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised tens of millions of dollars in the last three months from major donors who gave more than $100,000, relying on some of the Democratic Party’s deepest pockets to sharply shrink President Donald Trump’s financial advantage, according to new federal filings.

Biden’s biggest benefactors in the second quarter of 2020, when he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, represent a who’s who of billionaires and influencers in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street and beyond. Among those who gave at least $500,000 were Laurene Powell Jobs, the philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs; Meg Whitman, a former Republican candidate for governor of California and now chief executive of the streaming company Quibi; George Soros, the billionaire progressive financier; Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer; and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook.

Biden had previously announced that he narrowly edged Trump in total fundraising with their parties in the last full three months, $282 million to $266 million. New Federal Election Commission filings released late Wednesday shed the first light on the biggest contributors powering Biden’s financial turnaround, from a candidate who struggled to raise money in the primaries to one now outpacing the incumbent president.

Ever since Biden became the presumptive nominee in early April, the financial floodgates have opened as major donors who once backed his rivals rallied behind him and small contributors surged toward the chance to oust Trump. James Murdoch, the son of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and his wife, Kathryn, each gave $615,000 in June to Biden’s shared committee with the Democratic Party. During the primary campaign, Murdoch had donated to Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Donation limits during the general election skyrocket because, as the expected nominee, Biden can raise money simultaneously for his own campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties. Checks can be as large as $620,600.

Donors who gave at least $100,000 accounted for more than $53 million of Biden’s total haul in April through June, records show. The Biden and Trump campaigns will not file full reports for their spending and fundraising until Monday, though Wednesday’s disclosures offered important revelations both about how much cash Biden has accumulated and whom he and Trump have raised money from.

Biden’s campaign has closely guarded exactly how much cash he has in the bank, along with the DNC. But the latest filings suggested he had far surpassed $210 million in cash on hand entering July, a remarkable number given his earlier difficulties.

His two committees that filed Wednesday showed balances of $92.5 million. Biden’s main committee and the DNC account had combined for another $118 million, including debts, at the end of May; and spending patterns suggest those balances only rose in June, by far the campaign’s best fundraising month.

Trump’s campaign has said he entered July with $295 million in the bank, but his edge over Biden has eroded from $187 million at the start of April to a fraction of that now.

Trump has previously leaned heavily on major donors to bankroll his run, tapping many of the mainstays of the Republican money circuit months ago. But in the spring, as the coronavirus pandemic shut down traditional fundraisers, he relied mostly on online contributions, with $167.6 million of his donations — more than 62% — coming via the Republicans’ main online processing site, WinRed, new records show.

Trump still had some major contributors, raising $27 million via his joint committee with the Republican National Committee that can accept outsize checks. But that was a fraction of the sum that Biden raised from larger contributors.

Among Trump’s bigger contributors were Isaac Perlmutter, former chief executive of Marvel Entertainment, who has been a presence at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club; and Bernard Marcus, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, who recently dined with Trump at the White House.