WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Thursday that he had raised $22.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, a significant improvement from his lackluster fund-raising performance in the previous three months.
Mr. Biden’s total, for the period from October through December, far exceeded the $15.7 million that he had raised during the third quarter. It was his largest quarterly haul so far, surpassing the $22 million he brought in during the second quarter.
But Mr. Biden’s fourth-quarter total was much smaller than that of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose campaign announced earlier Thursday that it had raised more than $34.5 million in the quarter. Mr. Biden, the former vice president, also lagged behind Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., whose campaign revealed on Wednesday that it had brought in more than $24.7 million. Another leading candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, has not yet announced her fund-raising total.
While Mr. Biden’s fund-raising rebound did not vault him to the top of the Democratic pack, it still offered a reassuring sign for his supporters as the primary race heads into the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses in early February. His campaign said its online fund-raising doubled in the fourth quarter, and that more than half its donors in the quarter gave to the campaign for the first time. The average donation in the quarter was $41, the campaign said.
President Trump’s impeachment appeared to lift Mr. Biden’s fund-raising. The Biden campaign said the average amount of money it raised online per day more than doubled during the House’s impeachment inquiry compared with previous weeks.
Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, said on Thursday that the fund-raising announcement was “just the latest evidence of Joe Biden’s growing strength and momentum.”
“These numbers clearly demonstrate Donald Trump’s lies and attacks on the vice president have only cemented and expanded his support, serving as a constant reminder to Democratic primary voters that Trump is terrified by the idea of facing Joe Biden in a general election,” Mr. Schultz said in a statement.
Mr. Biden continues to lead national primary polls, but he has faced lingering doubts about enthusiasm for his candidacy, especially from grass-roots donors. Those doubts had been exacerbated by his weak performance in the third quarter, when his campaign spent $2 million more than it took in. He ended that period with far less cash on hand than Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren or Mr. Buttigieg.
Mr. Biden’s campaign did not say how much money it had on hand at the end of the fourth quarter. But in a memo on Thursday, Mr. Schultz wrote that “we will always be playing from behind in the cash race” because Mr. Biden had not transferred money to his presidential campaign from other campaign accounts — an apparent reference to Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, who both did so. Mr. Schultz wrote that the campaign remained “as vigilant as ever about the budget, watching every penny.”
For the fourth quarter, Mr. Biden’s campaign had publicly set a goal of receiving 500,000 individual donations. The campaign said on Thursday that it had met that goal, though it did not specify how many donations it had received.
Mr. Biden’s grass-roots strength still lags far behind some of his rivals, such as Mr. Sanders, whose campaign said it received more than 1.8 million donations in the quarter. Mr. Sanders received far more donations in December alone — more than 900,000 — than Mr. Biden had set as a goal for the three-month period.
Unlike Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden is relying on the traditional fund-raising circuit to raise money for his campaign, in addition to what he collects from grass-roots donors. Last week, Mr. Biden released a list of more than 200 people, known as bundlers, who had raised at least $25,000 for his campaign.
Ms. Warren, asked on Thursday about her own fourth-quarter donations, said that her fund-raising total would be released “soon” and, without naming them, made an implicit jab at Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg for relying in part on big-dollar events and bundlers to bring in money from wealthy donors.
“I didn’t spend one single minute selling access to my time to millionaires and billionaires,” she said to reporters after a campaign event in Concord, N.H. “I did this grass-roots all across the county.”
The Biden campaign had already boasted of its fund-raising rebound, announcing in early December that it had raised as much money in the first two months of the fourth quarter as it had during the entire previous quarter.
And in October, Mr. Biden’s campaign effectively dropped its opposition to receiving the assistance of super PACs, and a pro-Biden group, Unite the Country, is running television ads in Iowa supporting him.
Patrick Healy contributed reporting from Concord, N.H.