Biden hints at $19 million raised for his presidential campaign

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By Marianna Sotomayor and Mike Memoli  with NBC News Politics
Image: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice Presiden
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 18, 2019.   -  Copyright  Mark Makela Reuters file

Former Vice President Joe Biden hinted that his campaign is may be sitting on a war chest of donations totaling $19 million just two weeks before the second quarter funding deadline closes.

Biden told donors on Monday at his first high-grossing fundraiser in New York City that his campaign has 360,000 individual contributors who have given an average of $55. That totals roughly $19 million since Biden announced his presidential campaign in late April.

Biden's campaign declined to confirm or comment further on how much has been raised.

Unlike other Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have sworn off big-money donations from fundraisers, Biden has embraced them, making a point to stop in cities to raise money after campaigning in smaller towns.

Biden was never a prolific fundraiser until he joined the Obama presidential ticket in 2008, and he has relied on those connections to help jumpstart his third presidential campaign. He has also sworn off Super PACs and has advocated for reforming the influence of money in politics, telling voters at several stops this year that he had once introduced a constitutional amendment to publicly finance elections.

His campaign continues to seek small-dollar donations. In one email to supporters Tuesday his campaign notes: "Now that Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail, he's going to spend even more time launching dishonest attacks against us. We need to make sure we have the resources to fight back — and that means we need to hit each and every goal."

Biden opened and closed his remarks on Monday night thanking donors for contributing $2,800 to attend, which he said allows him be a competitive presidential nominee in a way that he has "never been able to before." He added that the gesture "is essentially saying, 'I respect this person. I think this person will do a good job.'"

Donors who attended Biden's second fundraiser in Manhattan on Tuesday also donated $2800 to attend.

Even though Biden lauded the crowd for their support and for hearing his stump speech, he reminded them of something that he often tells middle-class Americans at his rallies: that Wall Street did not build America.

"You guys are incredibly important but you didn't build America. Ordinary, hard-working, middle-class people given half the chance is what built America."

Biden has held 18 fundraisers since announcing his candidacy in late April.