Tom Steyer, the billionaire philanthropist and activist, only took in a little more than $2 million for his presidential bid in the past three months, his campaign said Thursday.
The fundraising is among the lowest announced by any candidate this quarter and puts Steyer far behind the Democratic primary field’s top fundraisers, like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). They raised $25.3 million and $24.6 million, respectively.
The relatively low fundraising total isn’t likely to lessen Steyer’s presidential ambitions too much. He has already declared that he will spend at least $100 million of his personal fortune on his primary bid. His campaign has not yet said how much of his own money he has already pumped into the operation.
That information will be publicly disclosed by Oct. 15, the deadline for candidates to submit their third-quarter financial reports to the Federal Election Commission.
Steyer’s team commented on Thursday that more than 166,000 people had given to his presidential campaign in the third quarter, enough to qualify for the fifth Democratic primary debate in November. The average donation size was $12, according to his campaign.
Steyer entered the Democratic race relatively late, announcing his candidacy in July, and has so far struggled to gain the same kind of national momentum that top-tier candidates like Warren, Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden have garnered.
But polls in early primary and caucus states have indicated that there is enough support to qualify for the November debate. He’s also slated to participate in the fourth debate on Oct. 15, an accomplishment that several of his Democratic rivals failed to achieve.
Steyer’s campaign manager, Heather Hargreaves, praised the wealthy philanthropist’s early success on the campaign trail, but noted that his “late entry into the race meant that we needed to move swiftly to catch up with the other candidates who have been running since last year.”
“The campaign’s success is directly tied to Tom’s experience in creating national grassroots movements,” Hargreaves said in a statement. “We built an organization in the early states quickly and have been using a wide-array of communications platforms, and we can see definitively that Tom’s message of breaking the stranglehold corporations have on our democracy is resonating with voters. That’s how Tom qualified for the October and November debates in less than three months.”