By Nandita Bose and Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's 2024 re-election team and his party said on Sunday that they raised $71 million during the latest quarter, as the Democrat's age and low approval ratings remained a concern for many donors.
The money raised is similar to the $72 million Biden and the Democratic Party raised in the prior quarter, though the April-to-June period was shorter by 25 days because Biden launched his campaign in late April. The summertime July-to-September period more than one year before the election is traditionally sluggish for raising money.
The Democratic re-election effort had $91 million in cash on hand at the end of September, across several of the party's affiliated fundraising entities.
Biden, 80, who fought doubts about his age in deciding to seek another four-year term in 2024, is grappling with polls showing concern about the president's age and decreased enthusiasm among Democratic voters.
Biden's campaign, which is based in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, said it will use funds raised so far to hire staff, organize in competitive states and launch advertising campaigns.
The campaign is expected to go on another hiring spree in the coming weeks and before year-end to start building out an operation to combat what top aides now view as their likely rival in the Nov. 5, 2024 election, Republican former President Donald Trump.
By comparison, then-President Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $125 million in the third quarter of 2019 for their re-election effort. Former President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee gathered $70 million in 2011, a figure Biden's latest would trail in inflation-adjusted terms.
Fundraising sums announced by Biden's campaign cannot be directly compared with Republican rivals because they include party accounts controlled by Biden allies.
Republicans have not yet picked a nominee and are spending some of their campaign funds on their fight against each other.
The Biden campaign, along with other candidates, are required to submit more detailed financial records to the Federal Election Commission by later on Sunday.
Earlier this month, Trump said his campaign raised over $45.5 million in the July-to-September quarter. His closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, reported raising $15 million during the same period. Trump's fundraising efforts have benefited from supporters who regard his four criminal indictments as politically motivated.
Biden's popularity is near the lowest level of his presidency, with just 40% of Americans approving of his performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll this month.
Biden has had to balance the rigors and travel demands of a campaign with a busy period in Washington, including a threatened government shutdown, a leaderless House of Representatives, an auto worker strike, natural disasters including the Hawaii wildfires, the Ukraine war, tensions with China and now the outbreak of war in Israel.
His campaign, which has held more fundraising events for the wealthy than political rallies for the public, said it organized 75 fundraisers since launch, including 37 this quarter and that small-dollar "grassroots" fundraising made up approximately a third of the entire funds raised.
Biden's campaign has focused its resources on boosting grassroots fundraising amid questions around their ability to bring in small-dollar donors, which often signal enthusiasm for a campaign. Such donors fueled Biden's record-shattering $1 billion haul in 2020 with $700 million coming from small online donations.
Some of the moments that boosted online grassroots fundraising included a "Meet the Presidents" fundraising contest that raised nearly $2.5 million and "Dark Brandon" mugs and accompanying videos that generated $2 million in revenue since August.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)