Vice President Joe Biden received the most money of all the 2020 presidential candidates from Towson residents last year through September, drawing $33,575 from about 40 individual donations from the 21204 and 21286 ZIP codes, according to a Baltimore Sun Media analysis of Federal Election Commission data.
President Donald Trump received $8,631.52 from about 110 donations in the first three quarters of 2019, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren received $8,194.86 through about 60 donations.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders received less money — $7,518 — but had more individual donations than Warren and Biden combined, with about 110.
The donations captured in the FEC data — the most recent available — includes contributions made from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, 2019. The filing deadline for presidential candidates to register their fourth-quarter contributions is Jan. 31.
Among the other Democratic candidates, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg received $5,087.69 from about three dozen donations, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar garnered $1,975 through nine donations, and businessman Andrew Yang received $875.84 from three donations.
Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who is challenging Trump in the Republican primary, received $50 from two donations.
The donation data aligns closely, but not perfectly, with the latest Goucher College Poll about the Democratic primary. In mid-September 2019, the poll asked likely Democratic voters who they were planning to vote for in the 2020 presidential primary.
At the time, 33% said they would vote for Biden, 21% said Warren, 10% said Sanders and 5% said Buttigieg. While the level of polled support aligns with the amount of money each candidate drew from Towson, it does not align with the number of donations to each candidate.
Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said the donation amounts and number of donations from Towson were not that surprising. Maryland, she said, does not see a lot of primary campaign activity, because it votes late in the process and does not carry many delegates to the nominating convention.
“Marylanders are exposed to the national picture,” Kromer said. “It’s probably not an incredibly fluid election here.”
Nationally, most polls have Biden with a significant lead, with Sanders and Warren jockeying between first and second place. The last Goucher Poll in Maryland reflects that trend, as do the broad trends of political donations from Towson.
“It looks as if Biden has a bit more of the high-ticket donations than does Warren or Sanders. Sanders has been sort of running on small donor momentum, so has Warren,” Kromer said. “But it’s difficult to make any sort of broad conclusion looking at just one slice of the state.”
John McTague, an associate professor of political science at Towson University, said the donation patterns in Towson did not appear too surprising.
“The numbers kind of mirror the way the national Democraty primary looks now,” McTague said.
When he thinks of Democratic presidential politics in Maryland, McTague said the state generally supports “whoever the establishment candidate is.” The split between Biden and Buttigieg bringing in larger donations, but Warren and Sanders bringing in more donors, “seems to mirror the split in the country right now,” he said.
The Democratic nomination is “a wide-open field,” McTague said.