Julián Castro raises $1.1 million in first quarter, lagging behind other 2020 contenders

Julián Castro, one of the earliest candidates to jump into the Democratic presidential primary race, raised more than $1.1 million in the first quarter of his campaign — big money, but millions behind the field’s leaders.

Castro’s staff announced the fundraising total on Monday, the deadline for filing for the many candidates in the race to be the party’s nominee for president. Other candidates also have been announcing their first quarter hauls and thus far, Castro’s total — $2 million with money from his exploratory committee added in — is dwarfed by the numbers several of his competitors have announced.

Although Castro lags far behind several candidates, his campaign manager Maya Rupert said in a statement that the campaign met its internal goals for the year’s first three months and “smashed” its fundraising goal in April’s first two weeks, raising an additional $572,000 — more than half the total for the first quarter that ended March 31.

“We’re just getting started and are rapidly building momentum,” Rupert said.

Castro, who has refused to accept contributions from political action committees, has accumulated 50,000 unique donors since December 2018. Their contributions have averaged $32 per donation.

The number of unique donors is important because of the Democratic National Committee’s requirements to make the stage for the first debate. The debate, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, is scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Miami.

To qualify for the stage, candidates have to receive at least 1 percent of support in three DNC-approved polls or raise money from at least 65,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports, which the Castro campaign said it would meet.

Castro has struggled to be seen as one of the leading candidates in the crowded Democratic field since he first announced his campaign on Jan. 12.