BOSTON — This deep-blue state isn't considered a battleground in the presidential election, but the campaigns still come here to keep their coffers filled.
While the first primary ballots are yet to be cast, Massachusetts' politically active set has chipped in more than $9 million to the presidential candidates this election season, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, the most recent period.
That makes Massachusetts the 20th largest contributor behind populous states like California, Texas, Florida and New York.
Political observers say the state's late primary and strong Democratic edge mean races here tend to be less competitive, but voters are more likely to give.
"Massachusetts generally doesn't get much love from presidential candidates ahead of the primary or general election, especially from Democrats," said Erin O'Brien, a professor and chairwoman of the political science department at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. "They come here to get checks from wealthy donors, and we have a lot of them."
Giving money to presidential candidates — even if they don't visit the state — helps contributors "feel connected" to the national political scene, she said.
Piles of cash
By far, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of 14 Democrats seeking the party's nomination to challenge incumbent President Donald Trump in November, has been the biggest beneficiary of the state's generosity, which political observers chalk up to her home-court advantage.
Warren raked in more than $2.1 million from nearly 21,499 individual contributions in Massachusetts as of Sept. 30, ranging from $1 to the $2,800 limit, according to a review of FEC disclosures.
Following behind her is Democrat Pete Buttigieg, a former Sound Bend, Indiana, mayor, who has banked $1,492,844 from about 6,000 individual donations in the state.
Former Vice President Joe Biden follows close behind Buttigieg, with nearly $1,119,650 raised to date.
Trump, a Republican, who has vastly out-raised his Democratic challengers nationally, has banked much less from Massachusetts supporters. He collected $658,144 from 11,412 individual contributions as of Sept. 30, according to his FEC reports.
Trump's haul in the Bay State is still far more than what has been raised by his Republican challenger, Bill Weld, a popular former Massachusetts governor.
Weld, who entered the race in in April, has raised $225,099 in Massachusetts as of Sept. 30, his FEC filings show.
Big and small
For the presidential race and other elections for federal office, contributors are limited to $2,800 per candidate per election.
Nationally, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic pack in fundraising, with a $25 million haul in the most recent quarter, which ended Sept. 30, according to his reports filed to the FEC.
He is followed by Warren, who reported raising more than $24 million. Buttigieg had raised $19 million and Biden more than $15.2 million.
Unlike previous election cycles, where the candidates attended fundraisers in the state to pick up checks from donors, many contributions are being made through ActBlue, WinRed and other online fundraising websites that give donors an easy way to make credit card contributions.
Most transactions are minuscule — as low as $1.
Top Democratic hopefuls like Biden and Warren bombard supporters with spam-like email requests and pleas to help fund their campaigns through the primary.
None of the campaigns contacted for this story would comment on their fundraising activities in Massachusetts.
Overall, the state's contributions are still below the $30 million Massachusetts residents gave to candidates four years ago, when it was the fifth-largest money state ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The totals do not factor donations to independent committees and groups, which work separately from the campaigns and pour millions of dollars into advertising.
Organizations that do not have to disclose donors — raising so-called "dark money" — have reported spending more than $624 million in the race so far, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Trump has been the largest beneficiary of the PAC money, raking in more than $19 million as of the most recent reporting period, the group said.
In Massachusetts, the state's Republican Party has held fundraising events for Trump, as have local party committees. One of Trump's top fundraising arms, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, is housed in a Beverly office building and so far has raised more than $96 million nationally for the president's 2020 re-election bid.
The 2016 election broke fundraising records, with Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, raising and spending about $350 million, while their Democratic rivals, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, raised and spent more than $585 million through the general election.
During this election season, the Trump campaign, his joint fundraising entities and the Republican National Committee reported raising more than $125 million in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30. Pro-Trump groups, including his joint fundraising entities, raised more than $308 million in 2019, and had $156 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30.
Nationwide, California leads among the states in direct contributions to the presidential campaigns, with more than $46 million given to date, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Texas has raised the second-largest amount to date, with $16.9 million in contributions; while Florida, a battleground state, followed with about $13.2 million in contributions.
In New Hampshire, a battleground state where Democrats are focusing a lot of their campaigning, donors have given slightly less than $1 million to the candidates.
Trump has raised the most money in New Hampshire, or $242,676 as of the Sept. 30 reports. Sanders has raised $158,273 while Buttigieg has picked up $146,889, records show.
Political observers say one reason for low totals in the Granite State is that much of the political fundraising and spending doesn't directly involve candidates' campaigns.
"Historically, there is very little money raised in New Hampshire ahead of the presidential election," said Andy Smith, a professor of political science and pollster at the University of New Hampshire and longtime observer of presidential politics. "The candidates come here to spend it and win over voters, not to put their hands out for money."
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for the Times and its sister newspapers and websites. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massachusetts: Top presidential race fundraising hauls (above $250,000)
Elizabeth Warren, Democrat
21,499 total contributions
Average donation totaled $100
Pete Buttigieg, Democrat
5,959 total contributions
Average donation totaled $250
Joe Biden, Democrat
3,266 total contributions
Average donation totaled $342
Bernie Sanders, Democrat
16,087 total contributions
Average donation totaled $50
Donald Trump, Republican
11,412 total contributions
Average donation totaled $60
Amy Klobuchar, Democrat
1,209 total contributions
Average donation totaled $247
Cory Booker, Democrat
2,225 total contributions
Average donation totaled $250
Source: Federal Election Commission filings, from Jan. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2019.