Sen. Bernie Sanders leads all Democratic Presidential Candidates in Latino Fundraising

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez

Bernie Sanders has raised $8.2 Million dollars from Latinos. Closest rivals are Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg with $2.0 Million each and Vice-President Joe Biden raised $1.4 Million dollars.

Plus Three analyzed the ActBlue Data file to identify Latino donors based on their “prevalence Latino” from the Frequently Occurring Surnames in the 2010 Census report. Our analysis of the 2019 end-year report from ActBlue found that Latinos contributed an estimated $23,734,093.62 from 1,713,678 estimated receipts through December 31, 2019.

Matching the all-contributions list of the ActBlue Data File against the “surnames occurring 100 times or more” list from U.S. Census 2010, we matched all of the individual contributions with the surname list to determine how much Latinos are investing in the Democratic Presidential campaigns.

Plus Three analysis shows that Latinos have earned their place among the ranks of core Democratic party activists. Any campaign that ignores the Latino community will continue to be at a disadvantage in fundraising and at the voting booth now and in the future.

Latinos are now significant players in Presidential politics

The Latino share of all Democratic giving is beginning to reach the share of the Democratic primary electorate. This has never happened before. Taken together with the growth in size of the Latino electorate to expected historic levels this November, Latinos are likely to, for the first time, cast more votes than African Americans.

Latino fundraising by Presidential candidate

Of the 23 Democratic candidates who entered the race only Bernie Sanders has built a Latino funding base. Quarter after quarter, Sanders has raised on average 9% of his total funding from Latinos. This is very impressive both by share and total amount raised. No other candidate fundraising has even come close.

Latino fundraising by period

However, between the analysis of our mid-year report and our end-of year report there has been a drop off in the total number of Latino contributions and Latino giving, a 25% decrease over a six-month period:

Drop-off in giving

We can attribute this drop-off to two key factors:

O’Rourke and Castro dropping out of the race for President and essentially taking their Latino donors with them.

O’Rourke had raised $2.6 Million dollars from 113,281 Latino contributions. Castro had raised $1.8 Million dollars from 94,137 Latino contributions. Overall, $6.5 Million dollars and 315,000 Latino contributions have in effect disappeared as the field of candidates has narrowed from 23 candidates to 5 leading candidates.

The inability of the other Presidential campaigns to pick up these Latino donors.

One only need to look to the Castro endorsement of Warren to see this scenario playing out in real-time. Castro’s base of Latino donors made up 38% of his total fundraising through June 2019. During the same period, Warren’s base of Latino donors made up only 6.29% of her overall fundraising and shrunk considerably in the last quarter of 2019. The Castro endorsement of Warren was announced on January 6, 2020 so we will be looking at future reporting to see if there is any increase in the campaigns Latino fundraising.

Similarly for O’Rourke, $2.2 Million and 21.7% of funding for his campaign came from Latino donors and for Harris $1 Million and 7.03%. While neither of these campaigns made an endorsement, we see no evidence that their Latino donors made significant financial commitments to any other candidate.

Even Bernie Sanders was affected by the down-turn but not as much as all of the other campaigns.

Drop-off in giving for Sanders, but not as much

Latino Giving by State

While the geographic base of Latino giving has not changed much over time with California, Texas, New York, and Florida leading all other states, Latino giving mirrors that of the Latino population size.

What is most striking is that Bernie Sanders leads every other candidate in Latino fundraising in every state and territory of the United States with the exceptions of Washington, DC where Pete Buttigieg leads.

Latino giving by state

Latino Giving by City

A comparison of Latino giving by city has one significant change with San Antonio, TX surpassing Los Angeles, CA by a mere $913.45. All together, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston, and Austin make the quad cities some fertile ground for Latino giving. Texas is no longer fly-over country for democratic candidates it should be a destination when in search for a more diverse base of donors of fundraising.

Latino giving by city

Latino Giving by Zip Code — Candidate Comparison

With 1,713,678 Latino donations it is possible to see the full breadth of giving centered in states and urban cities with large Latino populations. But we can’t overlook the fact that Latinos from every single state are opening their wallets to their candidate of choice in hopes that their contribution just might make a difference in this election cycle.

Latino giving by ZIP Code

A New Road Ahead of Latino Giving

The common misconception has been that Latinos don’t give. The fact is that Latinos give to the church, faith based organizations like Habitat for Humanity, relief service organizations like the American Red Cross during times of need, and they send money back home to help support families in need.

Political giving is the one area where very little attention and research has been focused. We have had the technology and the know how to do this research since 2000. It’s time that effort and research be focused on tapping into the potential of Latino giving.


Research Team

Juan Proaño
Co-Founder of Plus Three

Juan Proaño is an entrepreneur, technologist, and business leader who is active in civic affairs and progressive politics. Proaño is the co-founder and CEO of Plus Three, a Florida based Technology company serving non-profit, advocacy, membership, and political organizations. Founded in 2002, Plus Three has raised more than $500 million online and delivered over 1 billion emails for its’ non-profit clients. Juan is also the managing partner of Latino Strategies, a marketing and consulting company focused on engaging the U.S. Latino market which he founded in 2017.

In his two decades of entrepreneurship, Proaño has founded and managed three companies in the technology sector which have operated throughout the United States and South America.

Faisal Sikder
Data Research and Management

Is currently working as Staff Software Engineer and R&D supervisor at VIAVI Solutions. Faisal’s current research is on machine learning and AI algorithm development for resource constraint platforms. Sikder received his Doctorate in Computer Science from University of Miami. His research interests include big data & machine learning, wearable sensors and their applications, the Internet of things (IoTs), and distributed computing in the IoTs.