Tories win 2019 fundraising race despite big drop in last quarter

The federal Conservative Party's fundraising machine appeared to run out of steam during the final three months of 2019.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer acknowledges supporters following a speech on election night in 2019. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The federal Conservative Party's fundraising machine appeared to run out of steam during the final three months of 2019.

New Elections Canada figures show the party — long known for raising more money than any others —  fell behind the governing Liberals in the last quarter. But despite the decline, the Tories still managed to raise more during the entire year than any other party.

A drop in donations for the final quarter of 2019 was to be expected, as federal parties had spent the earlier part of the year hitting up supporters for money in the lead-up to October's federal election.

But the decline for the Tories was particularly precipitous. The party recorded only $4.1 million in donations between October and December from 31,500 donors — after raising $10.1 million from 62,000 donors between June and September.

The Liberals experienced a less severe drop, but they also had a shorter distance to fall — the party raised $4.8 million from 46,000 donors in the final three months, compared to $7.2 million from 53,300 donors the previous quarter.

Conservatives still tops in 2019 fundraising

The Tories still extended their fundraising dominance by raising a total of $30.8 million in the whole of 2019, as compared to $21 million for the Liberals, $8 million for the NDP and $6.5 million for the Greens.

"We really asked a lot of our donors earlier in the year in preparation for the election, and, as they often do, they came through for us," Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann said in an email.

"With (the fourth-quarter) results now known for all parties, it's official that the Conservative Party raised over $30 million in 2019, setting a new Canadian record for fundraising for any political party."

The Conservatives' previous fundraising record was $29 million in 2015.

The fundraising figures posted by Elections Canada could prove very important in the near future, since Canadians elected a minority Liberal government in October. That means parties must be ready to fight an election at the drop of a hat, which will cost more money.

Despite the Liberals having posted a lower total on the year, Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley touted the fundraising numbers — and the fall election result — as evidence Canadians support the party's agenda.

"The Liberal Party of Canada's strong financial position and efficiency means we can start 2020 strong and stay ready for a campaign, whenever it may come," he added.

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