Former Vice President Joe Biden entered the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries as the front-runner and clear favorite to win the nomination. He has managed to retain much of his lead in national polling, fading away in Iowa and New Hampshire. Earlier this week, in a potential sign of trouble, the Delaware Democrat finished fourth in Iowa.
According to a new report from The Hill, donors and bundlers are concerned about the former vice president’s prospects. Biden — who has struggled at times in terms of grassroots fundraising — appears to be in financial trouble, having cancelled an ad buy of $119,000 in the state of South Carolina, where he is considered a favorite to win.
“His fundraising was already suffering. It has not been great,” a Democratic bundler told The Hill, predicting that Biden will “have a tougher time raising money now that he needs it. It’s obvious he’s going to face major headwinds in the next two states.”
“Why would I support him now?” one of Biden’s major donors told the publication, noting that he still personally supports Biden, although he is not running a good campaign.
“I still believe he’s the best candidate to defeat Trump but he’s got a lot to prove. He’s running a weak campaign. People want to vote for someone, not against.”
A number of donors are reportedly now open to backing other moderate candidates in the race, such as former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. According to Julian Zelizer, a professor of public affairs and history at Princeton University, it does not come as a surprise that donors are abandoning Biden, given that he underperformed in Iowa.
“I think Biden is struggling because now the weak performance is starting to become real,” he said, pointing to Buttigieg and Bloomberg as centrist alternatives to Biden and predicting that Biden’s money would “dry up pretty quickly” if he underperforms on Super Tuesday.
Unlike some of the other candidates in the race, however, Biden is backed by a super PAC. Said super PAC announced earlier this week that it will spend around $1 million on advertisements in New Hampshire. As The Hill notes, Biden’s super PAC might soon have to spend money on digital and television ads in states such as Colorado, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina, where Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is set to spend more than $5 million.
According to a new NBC News/Marist College poll released Friday, Sanders is leading in New Hampshire. Buttigieg is in second place, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren holds third place, and Biden comes in at the fourth position.