The entrepreneur Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign said Thursday that he had raised $16.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, a considerable sum that represents his best total for a three-month period to date and is likely to put him among the Democratic field’s top five fund-raisers.
The $16.5 million raised from October to December eclipses the $9.9 million Mr. Yang’s campaign raised during the previous quarter and is more than five times what it brought in the quarter before that. But even as Mr. Yang improves his fund-raising, with about a month remaining before the Iowa caucuses, he is still seeking a last-minute boost in the polls that would allow him to qualify for the Democratic debate later this month.
Over the course of the campaign, aides said, Mr. Yang has received donations from about 400,000 people who have collectively given more than one million total contributions. The average donation to the campaign has been around $30, and 75 percent of the donations have been $200 or less, Mr. Yang’s campaign said.
Donors gave more than $1.3 million on Tuesday, the last day of the quarter — the campaign’s largest single-day haul.
“At every turn in this race Andrew Yang continues to exceed expectations, whether it’s in terms of grass-roots fund-raising, making the debates, early-state polling or the ability to draw big crowds,” his campaign chief, Nick Ryan, said in a statement. “What we have achieved together to date through the humanity-first values of this campaign now sets us up to compete through the early-state primaries, Super Tuesday and beyond.”
Mr. Yang’s fund-raising haul was remarkable for a candidate who has never held political office: He raised more in the fourth quarter than former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did in the third quarter ($15.7 million).
But he remains far from the top of the field financially. Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced Wednesday that it had raised $24.7 million in the last three months of the year. Mr. Biden and two other leading candidates, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, had not shared their fourth-quarter totals by early Thursday morning.
Mr. Yang has pitched himself as a cleareyed businessman and former leader of a nonprofit organization who has diagnosed the root of America’s problems — automation — and proposed a solution: having the government give every adult citizen a “universal basic income” of $1,000 a month.
After spending much of 2018 and the early part of 2019 toiling on the campaign trail in relative obscurity, Mr. Yang has gained steam since the spring. He routinely places in the top seven in national polling averages of the Democratic race, though his numbers are still stuck in the low single digits.
As he has grown his following, which he calls the “Yang Gang,” donations have increased as well, allowing his once fledgling campaign operation to expand significantly and add more traditional infrastructure. In the fall, for example, the campaign spent more than $1 million on an ad buy in Iowa, the kind of investment that would have been strictly aspirational in the first year of Mr. Yang’s campaign.
Unlike another businessman, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mr. Yang does not have a personal fortune big enough to self-finance his campaign. Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has already spent more than $100 million of his own money on television ads across the country and has crept above Mr. Yang in many national polls.
Mr. Yang was one of just seven candidates invited to the Democratic debate in Los Angeles last month, but his streak of qualifying for the events could end if he does not earn 5 percent support in multiple polls over the next two weeks.
Mr. Yang’s aides have long maintained that much of his support comes from disaffected voters who are underrepresented in the polls. The Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 will provide the first test of that theory.