(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee said on Monday they jointly raised $61.7 million in April, just beating the month’s haul for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his party.
A Trump campaign statement said the April sum was a record, bringing total cash on hand to $255 million. Biden said earlier in the day that his campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $60.5 million combined in April.
The big fundraising figures came despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered the U.S. economy and disrupted fundraising for politicians. Both presidential candidates and their allies are starting to ramp up paid advertising campaigns in battleground states ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.
“Once again the Trump campaign’s colossal fundraising haul reaffirms that President Trump will lead an unstoppable juggernaut this November,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.
But Biden’s fundraising figure followed a record total in March of $46.7 million for his campaign, more than three times the money that Trump managed that month.
“The trust you all have put in me as your presumptive nominee is humbling,” Biden said in a statement emailed to supporters.
The average online donation was “only $32.63,” Biden said, adding that contributors had made sacrifices despite the economic uncertainty wreaked by the pandemic.
Still, Biden has been playing catch-up to Trump, who has been amassing an election war chest since 2017, according to disclosures filed by the two campaigns to the Federal Election Commission.
Biden became the Democrats’ de facto nominee in early April after his last remaining rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped out of the race, making it the first month in which Biden was not competing in fundraising with a challenger from the same party.
His campaign struggled early to raise funds, but now hopes the party’s united front will help him build his coffers, as Sanders and other former rivals have endorsed him, and several are helping him with fundraising.
The U.S. economy lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, the steepest plunge in payrolls since the Great Depression, due to nationwide shutdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Fundraising events have largely moved online as the virus has upended American life, forcing millions of people to stay in their homes and leading presidential campaigns to cancel public events and fundraising dinners.
Biden, a classic retail politician whose social media following pales in comparison with Trump’s, has expressed frustration with the limitations of communicating with voters remotely.
But the freeze on in-person campaigning during the pandemic has had an upside for the former vice president, giving him more time to court donors and shielding him from on-the-trail gaffes.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York and Michael Martina in Detroit; Additional reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)