Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that his presidential campaign had raised more than $7 million in the first quarter of 2019, a significant sum for a mayor who was little known outside of South Bend, Ind., only a few months ago.
Mr. Buttigieg, 37, is the first presidential contender to disclose an estimate of his fund-raising total for the quarter. The haul is expected to place him, financially, in the upper half of a sprawling 2020 primary field that features a half-dozen senators.
“This is a big number for us,” Mr. Buttigieg wrote to supporters in an early Monday email. “We are not part of the national political machine. We started with just about 20,000 people on our email list, and not many people even knew who I was.”
[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]
Mr. Buttigieg, who is technically still only exploring a campaign, has said he has already surpassed the 65,000 donors needed to garner a spot on the Democratic National Committee’s primary debate stage, even as some better-known rivals have suggested they do not yet have that many.
Mr. Buttigieg’s fund-raising jumped after he appeared on a CNN town hall-style event earlier in March and impressed Democratic activists and donors, as he fielded questions in rolled-up white shirt sleeves and a blue tie. His campaign announced that he raised $600,000 in the 24 hours after his appearance.
An openly gay veteran and former Rhodes scholar, Mr. Buttigieg has made numerous appearances on national television in recent weeks seeking to lift his political profile. Later last month he told supporters via email that he was setting a $500,000 fund-raising goal by the end of the month. He hit the figure in less than 24 hours. He set another $500,000 goal. Again, he reached it in a 24-hour period.
Other candidates are expected to post larger sums than Mr. Buttigieg. Senator Bernie Sanders raised $10 million in his first week as a presidential candidate. Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke raised $6.1 million in less than 24 hours as a candidate, and more than $1 million over the weekend.