2020 elections

Buttigieg helps Biden raise $1M at 'grassroots' fundraiser

The event is the latest effort by the former South Bend, Ind., mayor to boost his party's presidential nominee.

Pete Buttigieg

Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are co-hosting the former vice president's first "grassroots" fundraiser during the coronavirus pandemic — bringing in $1 million for a campaign that initially struggled to attract small-dollar donations.

More than 35,000 people signed up for the Friday afternoon event, after Biden and Buttigieg sent the fundraising request to their respective email lists. The average donation was $26, according to a source close to the organizers.

Biden's once cash-strapped campaign is now raking in big money as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, even as he's been forced to rely on virtual fundraisers during the pandemic. Biden, along with the Democratic National Committee, nearly matched President Donald Trump's fundraising haul last month.

Biden's virtual fundraisers often feature a cast of the former vice president's primary rivals, including Buttigieg and Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, who have all appeared alongside him and tapped into their donor networks for the presumptive nominee. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton collected $2 million for Biden's new joint fundraising committee with the DNC this week.

During the presidential primary, Biden struggled to raise money from small-dollar donors, even as he brought in significant cash from big-ticket fundraisers. Buttigieg, meanwhile, became a fundraising juggernaut from both high- and low-dollar donors, collecting more than $100 million before dropping out of the race in early March.

The former South Bend, Ind., mayor, who burst out of near obscurity to finish in the top two in both Iowa and New Hampshire, grew his campaign's email list from 24,000 to well over 1 million people.

Buttigieg is exempt from vice presidential speculation, after Biden pledged to select a woman running mate. But he's maintained a national profile as a surrogate for Biden, hosting three high-dollar fundraisers and a digital organizing event earlier this month. He's also appeared in dozens of local news interviews in battleground states.

In recent weeks, Buttigieg also started his own PAC and affiliated nonprofit, Win the Era, which has endorsed a slate of down-ballot candidates.