Home Cooking: Which 2020 Democrats get the most cash from their home state?

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Now that the early fundraising numbers for the Democratic presidential candidates have been processed and reported, one can take a closer look into where each candidate is receiving the most financial support. Even with such a crowded primary, more often than not candidates shared the same few states.

The Democratic coastal strongholds — California and New York

Unsurprisingly, the staunchly liberal and populous state of California was the top contributing state. With numerous wealthy tech workers in Silicon Valley and celebrities in Los Angeles, Democrats reaped in cash. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) who served as attorney general for California before her election to the Senate, got $4.4 million from Golden State donors in the first quarter. In fact, 56 percent of all her funds came from in-state contributions.

California was also the top contributing state for a number of candidates who don’t call the state home — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with $816,619, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg with $522,312, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) with $318,373 and New York-native entrepreneur Andrew Yang with $125,151.

In fact, every Democratic candidate had California as being one of their top four contributing states.

Like California, New York is another solidly blue state full of deep-pocketed donors. While it appeared as a top state for every candidate except Gabbard, the state’s donors particularly liked their native daughter — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Gillibrand was the only candidate to collect more money from New York than any other state, raking almost $1.3 million or 51 percent of all her fundraising from her fellow New Yorkers.

Making his home just across the river from the Big Apple, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also made out well with New Yorkers. Donors from the state contributed around $1.8 million to Booker, good for his second-strongest state behind New Jersey where he got $1.9 million.

Home state favorites   

Washington Governor Jay Inslee received the highest percentage from his home in the first quarter, taking in a  whopping 68 percent of his contributions from Washington donors. Part of that may reflect the struggles Inslee has had getting name recognition elsewhere in the country as he often doesn’t crack 1 percent in polling.

Another candidate that has struggled to break through at the national level is former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Lacking widespread national attention, Hickenlooper raised 60 percent of his contributions from Colorado, giving him the second-highest in-state percentage among 2020 Democrats.   

Despite smashing records in his unsuccessful Senate campaign and becoming a national name, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has recently seen his star dim and his fundraising eclipsed by other candidates. The vast majority of contributions to his presidential campaign came from Texas — nearly $2.2 million or 56 percent. This is close to the same amount of in-state support he got in his 2018 Senate bid, when around 54 percent of his contributions came from Texans. Six of his top 10 metro areas were all in Texas. His next closest state was California with only $389,693.   

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) struggled with fundraising early on, but has gotten most of his financial support from local sources —  Maryland and Washington D.C.The D.C. metro area itself contributed $150,773.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) found some of her support close to home. Massachusetts donors contributed $432,537, much of which came from the Boston metro area. However, the majority of her money, 75 percent, flowed in from out-of-state likely from the extensive fundraising system she built as a household name among Democrats.  

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) received  $1.2 million from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, more than any other state.. Most of her money, 64 percent, came from elsewhere —- not surprising as Democratic donors are mostly concentrated in other states.

Another candidate struggling to break out of the 21-person field is former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. Like fellow Texan O’Rourke, he raised most of his money from the Lone Star state — 57 percent.  

Out-of-state support

As one of the main frontrunners of the race thus far and armed with an extensive donor database, Sanders notched the highest percentage of out-of-state donations with 98 percent. Vermont’s small population and lack of big donors spurred the creation of Sanders’ impressive national fundraising apparatus he debuted as the runner-up in the 2016 primaries.

Also with an extremely high out-of-state donor percentage is Gabbard, another candidate from a state with a small population — she brought in 93 percent from donors outside Hawaii.

Buttigieg also boasts a high out-of-state number, 89 percent, as he comes from the small and relatively conservative Indiana. He has connected exceptionally well with big Democratic donors in California and New York.

A trending figure among Internet users, Yang, a New York native, has received 86 percent of his contributions from out-of-state donors lending to the grassroots nature of his support.

Note: Candidates Joe Biden, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Seth Moulton and Mike Gravel were not included since they did not file a first quarter report.

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