Democrats see fundraising boom following wild debate between Trump and Biden


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gestures as he participates in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate with U.S. President Donald Trump held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Joe Biden and his party scored a huge fundraising windfall during and after Tuesday night’s acrimonious debate with President Donald Trump.

The Democratic fundraising website ActBlue processed close to $8 million between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, according to the site’s live ticker. By 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, it showed that, since the start of the debate, at least $25 million had gone through the site to various campaigns and committees up and down the ballot. 

Biden campaign officials told reporters late Tuesday they raised $3.8 million between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. through ActBlue, which they said was the site’s one-hour record. 

Rufus Gifford, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, tweeted on Wednesday that he had never received so many “calls/texts/emails from people wanting to give money to the campaign,” than he had in the previous 12 hours. 

As of early Wednesday, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and a representative for GOP donation website WinRed had not announced fundraising hauls. They did not return CNBC’s requests for comment on how much they brought in over similar time periods.  

The fundraising success for Democrats shows that the debate may have given Biden and the party another boost of enthusiasm, even though some critics say that the debate was so wild, it was sometimes impossible to decipher what the candidates were saying. This is the latest moment of fundraising success for Democrats. In the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, the site processed over $100 million in contributions. 

During the debate, the candidates battled over issues ranging from the economy to the Trump and Biden families. The president has come under fire for not denouncing White supremacist groups and urging his supporters to go into the polls to monitor what was happening. 

Longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who held a session with a small group of voters during the debate, told CNBC on Wednesday he and the participants came away feeling embarrassed, and he believes the battle would make the group less likely to vote. 

“I have never had a session blow up where the participants were disappointed on both sides, where everyone was embarrassed and everyone was upset about what had happened,” Luntz said on “Squawk Box,” while agreeing with the participants’ assessment.

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