Top Democrats are in a dead heat, but in Park City fundraising, it’s the Joe Biden show
The end of the year is fast approaching, and there are still 18 Democrats running for the party’s nomination to take on President Trump in 2020. And while it may not feel like it to some as the Democratic primary stretches on, there are still two and a half months to go until Iowa.
Of the 10 hopefuls who have qualified to take to the stage for a debate in Atlanta on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden is the frontrunner in donations from Summit County residents by a long shot, having raised $59,282.50 as of the last Federal Elections Commission filing deadline of Oct. 15.
Biden is the only Democratic candidate who has publicized a visit to Park City so far during this election cycle, having attended a private fundraiser at the home of Amy and Barry Baker in Glenwild on Sept. 28. That fundraiser solicited contributions ranging from $500 to the maximum of $2,800.
The filings appear to show that the Democrats running on moderate platforms are resonating among donors who reside in the Park City area, which is one of the wealthiest places in Utah and in the country at large. California Sen. Kamala Harris has received the second biggest amount of contributions with a haul of $16,601, followed by Pete Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and has raised $7,432 in Summit County.
Among the donors to Biden listed in the FEC data is Summit County Councilor Kim Carson, who contributed $250 to his campaign.
Democratic presidential campaigns have long pumped Park City for money. Former President Barack Obama and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton each held campaign fundraisers in town while seeking the White House. Summit County was one of the three counties in Utah that voted for Clinton in 2016.
On the left flank of the primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised $7,067 from Summit County residents, putting him fourth, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has underperformed her national status as a frontrunner in the race as the sixth highest, raising $3,207.
Billionaire Tom Steyer has not raised any money from Summit County donors.
The Summit County data displays a contrast with the national fundraising picture, where Bernie Sanders has raised more money than any other candidate solely through individual contributions. Harris’ fundraising ranking in Summit County vastly exceeds her national standing, while Warren has been one of the best fundraisers on the national stage.
Trump, meanwhile, has raised about $16,412 in Summit County, while his GOP challenger — yes, he has a GOP challenger — Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman, has received $200 from one donor.
The Park Record searched the FEC’s online database for 2019 contributions to the 10 Democrats who have qualified for the November debate, plus Trump and Walsh, for this report. Those 12 candidates have raised $117,632.22 total.
State of the race
Park City, along with the rest of Utah, hasn’t seen significant campaign activity yet in the fight to challenge Trump, as the top four candidates have remained in a dead heat in polling. Warren hosted an organizing event in Salt Lake City earlier this year while Biden spoke at the University of Utah in January prior to his candidacy and his visit to Park City. Utah Democrats are set to make their choice alongside the rest of the states that hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday — March 3.
Biden’s commanding fundraising lead in Summit County is in line with his performance in at least one other mountain town. The Aspen Times recently reported that he holds the lead in Pitkin County, Colorado, with $67,790 raised. The New York Times’ most recent national polling average shows Biden still polling first among the Democrats who have qualified for Wednesday’s debate with 25% support, followed by Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg. Harris, meanwhile, is in fifth place with 4% support.
Wednesday’s debate, hosted by The Washington Post and MSNBC, airs at 7 p.m. on MSNBC. Campaign finance data, including individual donors, recipients and more, can be accessed at fec.gov/data.
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Over the next five years, Katz will donate the money to nonprofits participating in Vail Resorts’ youth access efforts that serve major metropolitan areas.