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Kamala Harris beats Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders in 2020 money race in Florida

Sen. Kamala Harris raised at least $325,000 from donors in Florida for her 2020 presidential campaign in the first three months of the year, more than any other Democratic candidate.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in second in Florida, collecting more than $125,000 from Floridians in the first quarter, according to an analysis of newly filed fundraising reports.

“A common thread is that Harris and Klobuchar hired strong Florida fundraising staff,” said Ben Pollara, a Florida-based Democratic strategist. “No one else has.”

Harris’ hires include Stefanie Sass, a former deputy finance director for Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Joe Garcia. Klobouchar hired veteran Florida finance director Greg Goddard, who also worked for Nelson’s unsuccessful Senate campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and Charlie Crist’s 2014 campaign.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker raised more than $100,000 from the state, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg each raised $90,000. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke collected more than $60,000. And New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren each raised more than $30,000 in Florida.

The Florida totals are likely higher for all the candidates, as campaigns are not required to publicly disclose donors who give less than $200. All told, 84 percent of Sanders’ money came from those small donors, compared to 64 percent for Buttigieg, 37 percent for Harris and 34 percent for Klobuchar.

Nationwide, Sanders raised a total of $18.1 million in the first fundraising quarter of the election cycle, the most of any Democratic candidate. Harris entered the race in mid-January, compared to early February for Booker and mid-February for Sanders.

Florida’s Democratic presidential primary isn’t until March 17, 2020, but there will be 219 pledged delegates at stake, the third highest total of any state. Klobuchar is scheduled to campaign in Florida, which is also a perennial general election battleground, on Tuesday.

Many major Democratic donors are staying on the sidelines in the early stages of the 2020 race, waiting to see how the crowded field shakes out in the coming months before choosing a candidate. Some are backing multiple contenders at once while others are waiting for former Vice President Joe Biden to launch his campaign.

This story was updated to reflect Klobuchar’s fundraising total.

Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald contributed reporting.

Adam Wollner is a political editor for McClatchy’s Washington, D.C. bureau, where he covers the 2020 presidential campaign. Previously, he covered elections and Capitol Hill for National Journal. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Ben Wieder is a data reporter in McClatchy’s Washington bureau. He worked previously at the Center for Public Integrity and Stateline. His work has been honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, National Press Foundation, Online News Association and Association of Health Care Journalists.