Democratic presidential candidate and host of The Young Turks show Cenk Uygur has reportedly raised over $250,000 since launching his White House bid against President Joe Biden in early October.
The progressive media host’s campaign has brought in a quarter million dollars with over 6,800 donors, according to numbers first shared with The Hill by Uygur on Saturday.
“Pretty thrilled with my team, especially under the tight deadline circumstances that we have,” Uygur told The Hill.
Uygur, who is still a long-shot candidate in the primary, has to first battle for ballot access in states as he is a naturalized citizen who immigrated from Turkey to the U.S. in 1978 and thus, ineligible under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. The Young Turks founder believes the Constitution’s “natural born citizen” clause would allow him to hold the office and that he will be on the majority of state’s ballots.
The former California congressional candidate hopes to adjudicate the issue of his qualifications through the courts and pick various states to pursue litigation in, which could prove to be a tricky battle.
“The courts are going to resolve that one way or another so none of the voters have to worry about it,” Uygur said. “Even if I’m not in a certain state, the courts will handle it. And if they say that I’m eligible, which I think they will, then we’ll be on in all the states.”
The progressive candidate has gotten ballot access in Arkansas, but had his application rejected in Nevada after filing an altered form and crossing out the words “natural born” before “citizen.”
Uygur, like other candidates in the Democratic primary, will need to raise millions more to get national recognition and provide a challenge to the sitting president, who has recently been polling in at historically low numbers. Also, according to some recent polls, voters in swing states like Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania have shown a preference for former President Donald Trump.
Biden’s campaign committee has raised $24.8 million during the third fundraising quarter. That coupled with his joint fundraising committee and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the total war chest for the president’s reelection holds over $71 million, according to filings from the Federal Election Committee (FEC).
Book author Marianne Williamson (D) brought in more than $820,000 between July and September. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), another longshot Biden challenger, announced his run after the end of the fundraising quarter.
Phillips, who announced that he won’t run for reelection for his House seat, has the backing of a Super PAC called “Pass the Torch,” which has already started running ads targeting Biden’s electability. The group was started with the assistance of Steve Schmidt, who previously was an adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign. Phillips has gotten little support from donors in his home state, a powerbroker group that used to support his successful House bids, according to CNBC.
Uygur, during the interview, shared that former Nebraska congressional candidate Kara Eastman is running his campaign. Eastman, a social worker and nonprofit leader, narrowly lost to Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) in the 2020 Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.
Uygur believes that Biden, the presumed Democratic candidate in 2024, will lose to Trump.
“He’s [Biden] gonna lose,” Uygur said. “I’ve been saying this for about four months or so before I got into the race, and now pretty much everybody’s caught on. The only people who are still pretending that he has a shot of winning are the ones who are personally and financially invested in Joe Biden. Otherwise, there’s not a single political analyst that could look at those numbers and say that he has a decent chance of winning.”
In order to make his case to the American electorate, Uygur plans to focus some of his campaign efforts in Vermont and Iowa.
“I think I’ve got a very compelling message,” Uygur said. “If we get our message out to the citizens, we’re gonna win those things. Our message is incredibly popular.”
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