Biden and Trump hold dueling London fundraisers as campaign cash race intensifies

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President Joe Biden and former President Trump held competing fundraisers in London on Wednesday, sources told CNN, amid an intensifying race for campaign cash and signs that the former president is gaining some financial ground.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, hosted Biden’s event, while actress and political activist Holly Valance hosted the Trump event, which Trump’s son, Don Jr. and his fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, attended.

Ric Grenell, Trump’s former ambassador to Germany, posted on X that Trump’s event raised $2 million.

London has long been fertile fundraising ground for American politicians, who are allowed to solicit donations from US citizens abroad.

Gwyneth Paltrow, then a resident of the UK, held a fundraiser for then-President Barack Obama during his reelection bid in 2012. And then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney held a fundraiser in the British capital during a visit the same year. Wintour, a longtime Democrat, previously hosted a fundraiser for Biden during Paris Fashion Week in March.

The Financial Times first reported on the fundraisers, which come amid signs of an increasingly competitive money race.

Throughout early 2024, Biden’s reelection effort dominated the fundraising landscape, outraising Trump’s team significantly during the first three months of the year while building a substantial war chest that the campaign said totaled more than $192 million across all of its allied committees entering May.

In April, however, Trump’s first full month as the de-facto GOP nominee, the former president’s team raised $76 million, significantly ahead of Biden’s $51 million haul in the same month, and the first time that Trump’s team outraised Biden’s team this year.

Trump also benefited from a fundraising bonanza following his historic conviction in the criminal hush money trial in New York at the end of last month. His team sent out numerous fundraising appeals to supporters in the aftermath of the high-profile verdict announcement.

As a result, Trump’s campaign and its affiliated committees announced they had hauled in $141 million in May, with more than one-third of that total, $53 million, coming in just the 24 hours following the verdict at the end of the month.

Trump’s team did not announce a cash-on-hand total when announcing its May fundraising surge, but the $141 million that it raised is significantly more than Biden’s team has raised in any month so far this year. And it could help close the cash-on-hand gap between the principal campaign committees, with the Biden campaign holding a $35 million advantage at the end of April.

Biden’s team has not yet announced their May fundraising totals, but while being outraised by Trump in recent months, the campaign has repeatedly pointed to its substantial war chest of $192 million across all allied committees at the end of April, which they described as the highest cash-on-hand figure for any Democratic candidate in history and one they say positions the president to compete effectively with the former president.

Biden advertising blitz

Biden’s team has also put its early cash advantage into play, dominating the TV advertising landscape during the first half of the year.

According to data from the ad tracking firm AdImpact, since Super Tuesday, when Trump effectively secured the GOP presidential nomination, through Wednesday, Biden’s campaign had spent $47.8 million on advertising, blitzing battleground states, while Trump’s campaign has spent just $105,000.

Trump’s reelection effort has effectively left its paid advertising to allied outside groups so far, as opposed to the campaign, but the advertising gap remains when accounting for all outside spending from both parties in the presidential race.

Including all advertisers, Democrats have outspent Republicans on presidential advertising by about $81.2 million to $31.9 million, according to AdImpact data, a gap roughly equivalent to the Biden campaign’s ad spending alone.

Further complicating the financial picture is the significant strain that Trump’s legal troubles have placed on his reelection effort. Save America, a leadership PAC that has taken a lead role in paying legal fees for the myriad cases facing the former president, has had to divert nearly $80 million to legal expenses since the start of 2021 – funds that could otherwise go toward staff, organizing, paid messaging, and other campaign activities.

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