Online fundraising is breaking records in 2020:
Officials with the digital fundraising service say that even with less than three months before Election Day, ActBlue contributions to Democratic state legislative candidates have already set a record, totalling more than $76 million.
That’s a greater than 20% increase from the $63 million in ActBlue donations to the party’s state legislative candidates in the entire 2018 election cycle — and more than three times state House and Senate candidates raised during the 2016 election.
My initial take on this was that people are frustrated with quarantine life and are anxious to do something before the election clock runs out. But there's also a lot of economic uncertainty, and people will generally hold onto their money when that happens. So in my mind, that crosses off "pandemic" as a reason, leaving only the fervent desire for political change. And NC needs that badly:
And as ActBlue contributions soared over the summer, linked to the nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice, so too did donations to state legislative candidates. In the second fundraising quarter of this year, spanning from April to July, state House candidates raised more than double what they did in 2018, according to numbers provided by the fundraising platform.
“There tends to be this conventional wisdom out there that small-dollar Democratic donors are only paying attention to top-of-ballot and headline races,” said Erin Hill, ActBlue’s executive director. “What this is showing is that grassroots donors are here to support change up and down the ballot. They’re giving to things that matter to them across the board.”
Aimy Steele says she’s still in shock. The Democratic candidate was always determined to raise more money this election than she did in 2018, when her unsuccessful campaign collected less than $100,000 running for a state House seat outside of Charlotte, N.C.
But in 2020, the former school principal began experiencing a greater financial windfall from online donors than she had ever imagined possible. Steele brought in more than $150,000 through the online fundraising platform ActBlue since January alone, part of a fundraising haul of about $300,000 total.
“It was beyond surprising and absolutely shocking,” Steele said in an interview. “Like, I literally still pinch myself when I look at these numbers.”
Aimy is running against an anti-abortion doctor named Kristin Baker, who was appointed to fill Linda Stephens' seat after she passed away earlier this year. Aimy pulled a respectable 47.2% when she ran against Johnson two years ago, so this race should be interesting.