Kamala Harris raised nearly $12 million in second quarter, campaign says

The senator's fundraising efforts were boosted by her widely-praised performance at the Democratic debates

By Shira Tarlo
Published July 5, 2019 3:30PM (EDT)
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (Getty/Cliff Hawkins)
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (Getty/Cliff Hawkins)

Sen. Kamala Harris of California raised nearly $12 million in the second fundraising quarter of 2019, her Democratic presidential campaign announced Friday.

The freshman senator received donations from more than 279,000 people over the past three months, with 150,000 new donors contributing during that period. The average contribution was $39, the campaign said.

Harris' haul falls short of the nearly $25 million collected by South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the $21.5 million raised by Bidenthe $18 million haul from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the $12 million Harris raised in the first three months of the year.

The California Democrat's fundraising, however,  was boosted by her widely-praised performance at the first primary debates last week. Harris raked in $2 million in the wake of her high-profile confrontation with former Vice President Joe Biden over his civil rights record, as well as remarks Biden made last month about his "civil" working relationship with segregationist senators in the 1970s.

Harris also criticized Biden's past opposition to a federal busing policy that provided transportation for black students to local schools attended by mostly white students before describing the experience of "a little girl in California" who traveled across districts as part of the second class of students bused to integrate the public schools in her county.

"And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly," Harris said.

The confrontation between Biden and Harris defined the second night of the first primary debates, which spanned two consecutive nights to make room for the top 20 candidates in the Democratic primary field. The freshman senator's breakout performance was widely lauded, boosting her in post-debate polls — sometimes by double-digits — at the expense of Biden, who saw his lead over the pack of presidential hopefuls shrink substantially.

Harris leaped to second place in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and trails only former Vice President Joe Biden, according to the results of a Suffolk University/USA Today survey released earlier this week.

Another poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University and released Tuesday, said Harris surged into a virtual tie with Biden. The survey of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters showed Biden in first place with 22 percent, followed closely by Harris at 20 percent — a double-digit bump for her since last month’s poll.

The poll also suggested Harris has caught up with Biden in terms of support from black Democratic voters — a historically-strong voting bloc for the former vice president. It found Biden's support among black Democratic voters halved from 48 percent to 31 percent since the university's June poll, while Harris has seen her support among black Democratic voters grow to 27 percent from 11 percent since last month's survey.

Shira Tarlo

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2020 Democratic Debates All Salon Bernie Sanders Joe Biden Kamala Harris News & Politics Pete Buttigieg