WASHINGTON — President Trump has occupied the White House for less than three months, but his administration has fueled an early boom in Democratic fundraising and activism, according to liberal groups at the forefront of upcoming political fights.
ActBlue, an online fundraising conduit for Democratic candidates and causes, has processed more than $111 million in contributions during the first three months of 2017, more than four times the amount it handled during the comparable period in the 2016 election cycle.
Among the Democrats raising money through ActBlue: Jon Ossoff, a first-time congressional candidate in Georgia, who is vying for a Republican-held House seat in Tuesday’s special election. Ossoff, running on a “Make Trump Furious” theme, has raised $8.3 million — a staggering number for a House race — in the battle for a seat once held by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“On the left, our grassroots are stepping up in lots of quantifiable and meaningful ways,” Erin Hill, ActBlue’s executive director told USA TODAY. “People are putting their money where their mouths are. People are running for office.”
At EMILY’s List, which helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, nearly 11,000 women have reached out since Election Day, saying they want to run for office, said Vanessa Cardenas, the group’s director of strategic communications.
By comparison, about 920 women took that step during the two-year 2016 election cycle, EMILY’s List officials say.
The group has nearly doubled its recruiting and training budget to $6 million and will run training sessions to help prepare female candidates in 10 states through June. It’s joining forces with the League of Conservation Voters later this month to train about 200 prospective candidates who will converge on Washington for the April 29 People’s Climate March.
“A wave of women is stepping up and saying, ‘I want my voice at the table, and I’m no longer going to doubt that I can do this if other people can get elected who are less qualified,’” Cardenas said. “Women are just resisting.”