COLUMBIA — While he consistently leads polls of South Carolina Democratic primary voters, Joe Biden also has found the Palmetto State to be a helpful source of campaign funds.
The former vice president raised more cash from top donors in South Carolina than any other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, according to a Post and Courier analysis of federal reports filed Tuesday.
Candidates are only required to disclose the identity and location of voters who have given them at least $200 total over the course of the campaign, meaning the figures may not necessarily reflect their full haul.
But among those most valuable donors, Biden raised more than $185,000 from South Carolina, compared to around $66,000 for his next closest rival, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Wukela said the Vermont senator had also raised an additional $307,000 from S.C. donors who have given less than $200 each, and that the number of South Carolinians giving to the campaign tripled from the second quarter.
Following the two fundraising leaders came South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at around $49,000, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California at $38,000, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at $36,000.
South Carolina is not viewed as a lucrative state for campaign donations compared to bigger, wealthier states like California, New York and Texas. And the amount each candidate raised in South Carolina amounted to a tiny slice of their millions in overall fundraising for the quarter.
But the figures offer another indicator of the campaigns' level of support in an early-voting primary state that has drawn much attention in the early months of the race.
Overall, Sanders led the pack in national fundraising for the quarter with $25.2 million, followed by Warren at $24.6 million, Buttigieg at $19.1 million, Biden at $15.6 million and Harris at $11.6 million.
Even before he formally entered the race, Biden has led every poll in South Carolina by double digits while the race has tightened in other states.
A recent Winthrop University poll measured the former vice president's support at 37 percent of South Carolina Democrats, putting him 20 percentage points ahead of Warren in second place.
Biden's decades of relationships in the state, along with his connection to former President Barack Obama, have helped to maintain his popularity here, making it a crucial spot for his chances of winning the Democratic nomination.
Notable recent donors to Biden's campaign in South Carolina include the state's former Gov. Dick Riley and former Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum, both of whom have publicly endorsed him.
Biden has less money remaining in his campaign account than several of his top competitors with $9 million. Sanders has $33.7 million, Warren $25.7 million, Buttigieg $23.4 million and Harris $10.5 million.