President Donald J. Trump departs Gabreski Airport on County Road...

President Donald J. Trump departs Gabreski Airport on County Road 104 after attending two fundraisers in Southampton on Aug. 9, 2019. Credit: James Carbone

WASHINGTON — Since losing the presidential election in 2020, Donald Trump has raised at least $1.1 million from New Yorkers who made more than 21,000 contributions ranging from 4 cents to $5,000, federal campaign finance filings show.

Long Islanders gave about $300,000 in at least 5,000 contributions split between residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to Federal Election Commission filings by the former president’s main political action committee, Save America PAC.

More than half the Long Island contributors said they’re retired, the filings show. Those employed said they work as entrepreneurs, in the skilled trades, health care, sales, management, service jobs, real estate, clerical and office work and as business owners.

Since November 2020, Trump’s daily emails and other solicitations for contributions by a half-dozen of his fundraising committees aimed at small donors helped him build a financial stockpile at the end of 2021 of an unusually large sum of $122 million.

"He is the only one who’s done this," said Sarah Bryner, research director for Open Secrets, a nonpartisan Washington-based nonprofit that tracks campaign money. "He’s unique."

Politicians eyeing a run for the presidency usually wait until after the midterm elections to begin a major push for campaign money. President Joe Biden’s main campaign committee raised $11.8 million last year and at the end of the year reported having $4.5 million in cash on hand.

Trump, who wields sweeping influence with the Republican base and over his party's politicians, often hints in speeches, on social media and at rallies that he might mount another campaign for president in 2024.

But he has not formally announced he is running for a second term in the White House and, according to FEC filings, he has not created a presidential campaign finance committee.

Instead, he created Save America PAC as a leadership committee, which can support other candidates, other political committees and other groups, but also has no prohibition against his personal use of its funds.

And campaign finance experts say Trump cannot simply morph Save America into his presidential campaign committee if he does decide to seek a second term.

"He can't just transfer it to a campaign committee once he declares himself a candidate," Washington-based campaign finance attorney Brett Kappel told Newsday in an email.

Save America PAC can give Trump’s campaign $5,000 for the primaries and $5,000 for the general election, the same amount as it can give to other federal candidates, he said.

The PAC also can support the Republican National Committee with as much as $400,000 and can make $10,000 contributions to each of the state GOP parties, Kappel said. He can also use it for personal expenses.

Trump created the PAC in November 2020 as he fought to overturn election results in key swing states — and his fundraising operation raised more money in December 2020 than in any month during 2021.

New Yorkers’ contributions to Save America PAC likely exceeds the $1.1 million reported from contributors with New York addresses — an amount that could be twice as much from contributors of less than $200, the FEC threshold for listing their names and addresses.

Still, donors in New York gave significantly less to the Trump operation than contributors in California, Texas and Florida, Bryner said. For the 2020 presidential election, New Yorkers gave Trump a third of the amount they gave Biden, according to Open Secrets data.

"When it comes down to it, it's just a blue state," Bryner said, "and the money is also blue."

And the pace of contributions, nationally and in New York, have slowed after the surge, the filings show. That tracks Siena Research Institute surveys on Trump’s approval rating, which dropped from 81% among Republicans in mid-November 2020 to 66% in mid-January of this year.

"There is softening of his numbers that still leaves a tremendous support for him," said Long Island political consultant Michael Dawidziak, who mostly helps Republicans.

Suffolk County Republican chairman Jesse Garcia told Newsday that Trump’s appeal was still strong among "average Americans from the entire political spectrum" who were "digging into their pockets, despite historic inflation, and sending him 10, 15, 25, 50 bucks."

But Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State and Nassau County Democratic parties, said, "Trump in many respects is a cultural phenomenon, because he represents for too many people the voice of their resentment and their anger and their frustration. And so they're willing to overlook his bad behavior because he speaks to something far more important to them."

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