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P2020 Fundraising by Zip Code: Sanders Dominates Seattle and other Major Cities in King County

Originally posted on November 04, 2019 11:30 am
Updated on February 07, 2020 2:37 pm

Back in July, our sister site RealtyHop took a look at the presidential candidates’ filed fundraising numbers for the second quarter. We then stated, by looking at the numbers (and numbers don’t lie), that based on the fundraising numbers only five of the Democratic presidential candidates truly had a shot. As the campaign finance data for the third quarter has now been released, we can take another close look to see if the trend has changed.

The previous study analyzed individual donations in the 30 most populous U.S. cities. This time around we took a deeper look at the individual donations on a state, county, and zip code level, including Washington State. We chose specifically to rank zip codes by unique donor counts instead of dollar amounts, as we feel this better represents how many people support each candidate.


Our key findings this quarter include:


  • Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont topped all other 18 Democratic candidates with in total 2,708 unique donors in King County as of September 30th. He leads in 57 zip codes, including 98103 (Seattle) and 98052 (Bellevue). [Fundraising Map]
  • President Donald Trump, meanwhile, came in second with a total of 2,355 unique donors in King County. He leads in 103 zip codes, such as 98391 (Bonney Lake), 98208 (Everett), and 98042 (Kent).
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts amassed 1,037 unique donors in Seattle, only 59 fewer than the front-runner Sanders.
  • Sanders has consistently recorded above-average performance in King County. In September, he outperformed other candidates by 121% above average. [Interactive Chart]
  • Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have both consistently recorded below-average unique donations since April.
  • Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, secured only 588 unique donors in King County, of which 270 were in Seattle.


Which Candidate Does Your Neighbor Support?


The interactive map and graph below show the share of unique donors each of the top 10 candidates has in zip codes across King County. More detailed, the map shows where each zip code stands, politically, and which presidential candidate is the front-runner in each zip code. In terms of the color shades, purple areas are whether neither the 19 Democratic candidates combined nor Trump has more than 55% of the donors. Light blue and light red represent zip codes where the party has 55% to 70% of the donors, and blue or red represents a majority of 70% and more.


From the interactive map above, we see that the majority of donor share for King County is mostly Democratic in the Seattle area but more spread as you move further out. While Sanders is the unique donor leader in King County with a total of 2,708 unique donors, Trump took the lead in 103 zip codes throughout King County. Democratic candidates, meanwhile, leads in 78 zip codes, with Sanders leading in 57 zip codes, Warren in 15 zip codes, Buttigieg in 3, Biden in 2, and Castro in 1 zip code. However, this will likely change once voters regroup their support after the primary.

The Democratic strengths are specifically prominent in the City of Seattle. Sanders leads in Seattle with 1,096 unique donors, followed by Warren with a total of 1,037 unique donors as of Q3 2019. Mayor Pete is currently in third place, but his unique donor count, 652, is 40% lower than Sanders. Despite being the early front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden had only attracted 270 unique donors in the City of Seattle since he announced his presidency.

Sanders is Untouchable in these Zip Codes

  • 98103 (Seattle): 116 unique donors
  • 98122 (Seattle): 81 unique donors
  • 98102 (Seattle): 80 unique donors
  • 98052 (Bellevue): 76 unique donors
  • 98107 (Seattle): 66 unique donors

Trump Leads in these Zip Codes

  • 98391 (Bonney Lake): 48 unique donors
  • 98208 (Everett): 40 unique donors
  • 98004 (Bellevue): 38 unique donors
  • 98042 (Kent): 35 unique donors
  • 98292 (Stanwood): 34 unique donors


The Top Five – Who Outperformed and Who Faltered?


The interactive chart below compares the top five Democratic candidates to the average number of unique donors amongst the group.


As one can see from the interactive chart, Sanders had consistently outperformed other candidates in the group since April. He had an impressive month in June with a total unique donor count 107% above the group average. He then again outperformed the group by 121% in September. Warren, meanwhile, had a good start in April and May in terms of unique donors but fell below the average in June. She picked up the momentum again in July, with a unique donor count 83% above the group average.

Buttigieg, who has had outstanding performance in places including New York City and the Bay Area, consistently recorded below-average performance in King County. From the interactive chart, we also see that Senator Harris and Biden had a rocky road in King County, especially Biden, who reached 30% above-average performance after two months of below-average results. His unique donor count fell 88% below the group average in July, and has not since picked up again.


Unique Donors Leaderboard – By City


Interested in only city-level data? Here’s a summary of our analysis by major cities in King County.

  • Seattle: 95% of donors supported Democratic candidates
    Front-runner – Bernie Sanders, 1,096 unique donors, highest number of unique donors from 98103 (116 unique donors)
  • Bellevue: 85% of donors supported Democratic candidates
    Front-runner – Bernie Sanders, 261 unique donors, highest number of unique donors from 98052 (76 unique donors)
  • Tacoma: 73% of donors supported Democratic candidates
    Front-runner – Bernie Sanders, 166 unique donors, highest number of unique donors from 98405 (19 unique donors)




The campaign donations data was retrieved from the FEC, and the county shapefile was retrieved from the Seattle Open Data portal. To calculate unique donors, we combed through over 80,000 recorded campaign donations, looking at donor names, committees, receipt dates, and 5-digit zip codes. We then grouped donations from the same name and zip code together and analyzed the data by zip code and candidate. In King County, we found over 12,500 unique donors as of Q3 2019.

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