WASHINGTON - US presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, unknown to most Americans just weeks ago, announced Monday that his campaign raised $7 million in the opening months of 2019.
He was the first in the Democratic field to reveal fundraising totals. Though not expected to be the largest haul, it suggests impressive momentum for a second-tier candidate who is battling to raise his profile.
"This is just a preliminary analysis, but our team's initial report shows we raised over $7 million dollars in Q1 of this year," the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana posted on Twitter.
"We (you) are out-performing expectations at every turn," he added.
Presidential candidates are required to submit their fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission at the end of every quarter during their campaigns.
That Buttigieg is first out of the gate suggests his team is confident about the grassroots support he is receiving, even though he has not officially entered the race to see who will win the Democratic nomination and challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.
Buttigieg announced his exploratory committee in late January.
Several other better known candidates are likely to post figures that outpace the Buttigieg haul.
Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke, a former congressman, raked in a record $6.1 million in the 24 hours after announcing his presidential run in mid-March.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost the nomination battle to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and is running again, raised $5.9 million in his opening day.
Buttigieg is young and openly gay, and his progressive policies, including support for universal health care, and message of unity, tolerance and forward-looking problem-solving appears geared towards millennials.
He is also counting on his military veteran status -- he served in Afghanistan as a US Navy intelligence officer -- and his Midwest roots to appeal to wider swaths of American voters.