San Diego County residents so far have given nearly $1.3 million to 22 presidential candidates since the end of 2018, with President Donald Trump, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg receiving the most local dollars, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Trump’s campaign has received $353,569 from San Diego County donors, while Buttigieg’s gained $222,457, and Sanders’ pocketed $151,541.
They were followed by California’s own Sen. Kamala Harris, who received $126,119, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who got $87,801 and former Vice President Joe Biden, with $75,729.
The amount given to each candidate may be larger. The FEC requires candidates disclose certain details about donors when their contributions total $200 or more in an election cycle, but candidates also can list donors of smaller contributions.
The FEC data cover a period that ended June 30, which means any local boost candidates received during or after visits to San Diego for the UnidosUS Conference last week were not reflected.
Democratic candidates Biden, Sanders, Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro all spoke at the Latinx-oriented conference which drew thousands.
Trump’s financial showing in San Diego County is stronger than other trends suggest.
Republicans have fallen to third-party status in San Diego County, where their voter registration numbers trail registered Democrats and voters with no party preference.
Trump also lost San Diego County to Hillary Clinton by nearly 20 points during the 2016 election and remains deeply unpopular among many California residents in most polls.
Yet the president possesses clout in certain parts of the county and benefits from being the lone Republican in the field, said Thad Kousser, chair of the Political Science Department at UC San Diego.
“This reminds us that, even as San Diego is rapidly becoming a blue city and county, there is still a lot of pockets of Trump Country,” said Kousser. “Donald Trump is the least popular politician in California, but he still has a core of very strong supporters.”
Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said Trump’s support among Republicans has strengthened since 2016 and helped generate a lot of enthusiasm at the county Republican Party meeting earlier this month, which had a record attendance of more than 800 people.
“In 2016 there was some apprehension among Republicans, but that is largely gone,” Krvaric said. “Then he was unproven and making promises; now he’s largely delivered on a lot of things …. You’re not gonna see a lot of ‘Never Trump’ people.”
On the Democratic side, the fundraising totals from San Diego County also held some surprises.
Most national polls have some variation of Biden, Harris, Sanders and Warren at the top. In San Diego County, the three senators were among the top fundraisers, but Buttegieg performed much better than Biden, receiving nearly three times as much in contributions.
If the table is not displaying properly, view on full page here »
Data show most of Buttigieg’s fundraising lead comes from donations he collected just before a single campaign event in San Diego in May.
In the two months leading up to a private dinner in La Jolla, Buttigieg raised more than $162,000 — nearly 75 percent of the total he raised since January — with $150,000 of it donated in April alone.
“The maximum contribution only comes when you get a chicken dinner with the candidate,” Kousser said. “You’re expecting a selfie if you’re going to give that kind of money.”
Buttigieg raised just $4,550 in January and February, $30,000 in May and $25,000 in June.
Buttigieg also received far fewer individual contributions than his peers, some 542 donations averaging about $410 each.
“Those kind of numbers likely come from a handful of successful events,” Kousser said of Buttegieg’s fundraising, adding that it offers a stark contrast to the way candidates like Sanders have opted to fundraise, relying instead on a network of smaller-dollar donors.
FEC data show 8,730 individual contributions went to the presidential candidates, averaging about $149 each.
Sanders had the most individual contributions among the candidates, some 2,500 donations. He has participated in at least four events in San Diego — none of which were fundraisers — since January, more than most other candidates.
Data show his donations averaged $60, the lowest average among all other candidates with San Diego support.
“People who are raising money in small chunks is a stronger indicator of their grassroots support and the breadth of their support,” Kousser said. “I’d take Sanders’ numbers in a minute.”
Which presidential candidates have the most San Diego support?
Federal Election Commission data show who’s received the most money from San Diego County donors since the end of 2018.
Trump received 2,000 donations, averaging $177 each. Harris had 1,200, averaging $105 each and Warren received 896, with an average of $98.
Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said it seems Buttigieg had cornered the market on local high-dollar donors, but a recent straw poll of support at a local Democratic club meeting reflected more enthusiasm for Sanders, Harris, and Warren.
Rodriguez-Kennedy said he was more surprised by the results for Biden.
Biden received $75,729 from 269 contributions as of June 30, according to the FEC data.
“What is real shocking here is how low Biden is,” Rodriguez-Kennedy said. “If you look at the national trend it definitely appears his support seems to be collapsing a bit. It’s not surprising to see that in one of the most progressive states, but San Diego is not exactly a super-lefty, liberal county.”
The former vice president has since had a fundraiser in San Diego County which was not reflected in the data.
Interest in supporting the presidential candidates can be seen across the county but was most heavily concentrated in the city of San Diego.
More than $718,500 in donations came from city of San Diego residents, more than any other city. The total represents more than half of the sum donated by residents throughout the county.
City of San Diego contributions averaged about $157 each and included donations from individuals who listed themselves as residents of the “city of La Jolla.” Rancho Santa Fe residents gave the second largest sum, $67,670, followed by Carlsbad and Escondido.
The FEC allows donations to be made to committees or PACs, but not to candidates directly.
Only donations to committees that included a candidate’s first or last name were included in the Union-Tribune analysis, which used donors’ reported ZIP codes to identify contributions from San Diego County residents. Zip codes, a donor’s name, employer and occupation are self-reported and may include errors.
(c)2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune
Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.