Biden unveils record $130mn campaign war chest after January haul

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Joe Biden raised more than $42mn in January, giving him a record-breaking $130mn war chest ahead of the November US presidential election despite mounting concerns over his age and weak polling numbers.

The campaign said Biden’s cash on hand was more than any Democratic candidate had ever amassed by this point in the election cycle and contrasted the figure with the fundraising efforts of Donald Trump, whose political action committees’ coffers are being drained by his legal fees.

“January’s fundraising haul — driven by a powerhouse grassroots fundraising program that continues to grow month by month — is an indisputable show of strength to start the election year,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez in a statement.

Trump has not released his January fundraising figures, but groups backing his run for the White House disclosed cash on hand of $66mn at the end of 2023, compared with $118mn at that time for Biden. The difference — $52mn — was equal to Trump’s legal costs.

Biden’s show of fundraising prowess comes amid renewed scrutiny of his age and fitness for a gruelling re-election bid, after a special counsel report on his handling of classified documents described the president, 81, as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”.

The alarms around Biden’s age have reached some of his donors and liberal supporters in the press. Prominent New York Times opinion columnist Ezra Klein recently published an article praising Biden for his legislative record but calling on him to step aside.

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Trump, who is just four years younger than Biden, faces a number of civil and criminal cases — and a fast-growing legal bill. Last week, a New York judge ordered the former president to pay $355mn in penalties for widespread fraud and barred him from some business activities in the sate. Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith has also charged Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents and, in a separate case, for conspiring to subvert the 2020 election. Trump has denied all charges.

But the former president is the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and narrowly polling ahead of Biden in crucial swing states such as Wisconsin. 

Biden communications adviser TJ Ducklo said January’s money haul would “go directly to reaching the voters who will decide this election”.

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