President Biden notched record fundraising receipts in February with donations from nearly half a million people, overcoming poor polling to end the month with $155 million in the bank.

The strong results bolstered the Biden campaignโ€™s argument that grass-roots energy will swell as the November election approaches and voters come to terms with the choice between Biden and Donald Trump.

Biden and Trump โ€” who both became their partyโ€™s presumptive nominees last week โ€” are locked in a rematch of the 2020 presidential election, though early polling averages show Trump with a slight advantage in national and multiple battleground state polls, a reversal of the situation for most of the 2020 race. Third-party and independent presidential contenders are also polling higher than at this point in 2020.

The Biden campaign has moved this month to capitalize on its financial advantage over Trump, who is just now integrating his operation with the Republican National Committee. The Biden team has announced plans to open more than 100 offices this month and has launched a $30 million spring advertising campaign in key states.

โ€œEvery single dime that we raise right now is going to talk to voters, whether that is on TV in ads, whether that is online in ads, whether that is opening offices,โ€ said Rufus Gifford, the campaignโ€™s finance chair. โ€œOur opponents are spending tens of millions of dollars on legal fees. This is a huge, huge, huge advantage that we do have, and we are excited about that.โ€

Trump political committees spent more than $55 million last year on legal fees defending the former president as he faces multiple lawsuits and four separate criminal prosecutions, according to campaign finance disclosures.

The February total of $53 million raised between Bidenโ€™s campaign and other party accounts eclipses the amount raised by President Barack Obama during the same period in 2012, but not when inflation is taken into account. Obama raised $45 million in February of that year, which adjusts to about $61 million in current spending power, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But Biden clearly eclipsed Obama in another measure. While Obama reported nearly 350,000 donors in February of 2012, the Biden campaign claimed 469,000 unique donors at the same point in the current cycle. The Biden effort has received 3.4 million donations since the start of the campaign from 1.3 million donors, the campaign said in a release. Gifford said the totals had beaten the campaignโ€™s internal expectations, which he declined to disclose.

Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg โ€” a co-chair of the campaign who appeared in a picture with the president prepping for the State of the Union address at Camp David this month โ€” said the biggest shift in recent months came from Bidenโ€™s increased campaigning, including a Jan. 5 speech in Pennsylvania to commemorate the U.S. Capitol attack before Bidenโ€™s inauguration.

โ€œAs it has become clearer and clearer that this is now a choice, the enthusiasm and the excitement really started coming out of Valley Forge in January, where the president really started to hit the campaign trail and got into campaign mode and started talking to and engaging much more actively with donors,โ€ Katzenberg said. โ€œYou know the more they see him, the more their confidence and enthusiasm [grows].โ€

The campaign reported a 40 percent increase in February email fundraising from a month earlier, crediting the shift to messages focused on Trump. Another bright spot was fundraising centered around a late-March event in New York City, where Biden will appear at Radio City Music Hall with former presidents Obama and Bill Clinton.

The February totals also came before Bidenโ€™s March 7 State of the Union address, which was widely praised by Democrats and led to a $10 million fundraising haul in the 24-hour period after the speech. Since that speech, Biden has kicked off a tour of battleground states, picking up the pace of campaigning that many anxious Democrats were eager for him to do.

He visited Pennsylvania and Georgia in the days after the State of the Union and last week campaigned in New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin. This week, he will travel to Nevada and Arizona.

Since the State of the Union, the president has also sharpened his attacks against Trump, castigating him as a threat to individual rights, freedom and democracy.

In the first ad of the newly launched $30 million advertising campaign, the president directly confronts concerns about his age.

โ€œLook, Iโ€™m not a young guy,โ€ Biden says, opening the 60-second spot. โ€œThatโ€™s no secret, but hereโ€™s the deal: I understand how to get things done for the American people.โ€

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