Sanders brings in $18M in first quarter fundraising

Saul Bowman
April 4, 2019

Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he raised $18 million since launching his 2020 presidential campaign, a substantial sum which, coupled with strong polling, puts him atop the pack of declared contenders for the Democratic nomination.

The money came in the form of almost 900,000 contributions from 525,000 individual donors, according to Shakir. The campaign says 99.5 percent of the donations were $100 or less, per CBS News, with the average being about $20. After announcing his presidential bid February 19, Sanders raised $5.9 million in 24 hours and $10 million within a week.

Sanders's campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said the total came from 525,000 donors and 900,000 individual donations.

Pete Buttigieg, the relatively unknown millennial mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who launched a 2020 presidential exploratory committee two months ago, raised $7m in the first quarter of 2019 - an impressive haul for a candidate whose name many people are still only just learning how to pronounce. The majority of donors were young, he said, and that the occupation most likely to give were teachers.

This shift largely reflects politicians reacting to a progressive base that looks with suspicion and distrust on big-money donors. That followed Sanders, who raised $5.9m in his first day - and later disclosed he had raised $10m in a week.

Bernie Sanders speaks to a crowd at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, last month. Sanders' campaign says the senator got 88% of his money from donors who contributed $200 or less.

The fundraising figures show the Sanders campaign fell short of its goal for the first quarter of 2019: to reach one million individual donations in about six weeks.

Other candidates in the race have yet to announce their fundraising numbers.

California senator Kamala Harris said on Monday night she raised $12m since announcing her presidential bid in January. One Democratic megadonor, Susie Tompkins Buell, already appears to have second thoughts on her preferred candidate, hosting a fundraiser for Buttigieg after endorsing Harris.

Harris isn't eschewing high-dollar fundraisers.

The deadline for candidates to submit quarterly campaign-finance filings to the Federal Election Commission is April 15. But other candidates whose fundraising has also been fueled by small contributions have also given a peek at their numbers. She has just $1.3 million to transfer to her presidential campaign. Traditional fundraising isn't going away, Giffin said in a recent interview, "but that grassroots money can more than make up for it, and candidates have to prove they can do that".

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