Sen. Bernie Sanders closed out his 2019 comeback story with a field-beating fundraising haul, adding more momentum to his candidacy just one month before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential primary.
The Sanders campaign announced Thursday morning that the Vermont senator raised $34.5 million in the last quarter of 2019 from more than 1.8 million donations. That brings the total number of donations Sanders has received so far for his campaign to over 5 million, more than any other campaign.
December was also his best month yet, with $18 million taken in from over 900,000 donations — 40,000 of them on the final day of the quarter.
Coupled with massive rallies across the country and high-profile endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and others, the fundraising totals have already helped Sanders overcome one of the highest hurdles for the campaign: getting positive press.
Just a few months ago, a heart attack sidelined the 78-year-old from the campaign trail and pundits speculated about whether his candidacy could continue. The wave of grassroots donations shows there's still wide support for Sanders, giving the campaign a personal narrative to push to the public.
“Bernie Sanders is closing the year with the most donations of any candidate in history at this point in a presidential campaign,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, said. “You build a grassroots movement to beat Donald Trump and create a political revolution one $18 donation at a time, and that’s exactly why Bernie is going to win.”
Digging into the numbers, the average donation amount was $18.53, the most common occupation was teacher, and donors most frequently worked at Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, the United States Postal Service, and Target, according to the campaign.
Sanders’ numbers far exceed other primary candidates who have so far announced their fourth-quarter totals. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised $24.7 million, businessman Andrew Yang raised $16.5 million, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard raised $3.4 million.
The other top-tier candidates, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, have yet to release their numbers, but both campaigns have been sending public signals that they aren’t expecting a windfall to close out the year.
Not to be outdone, the Trump campaign released its totals on Thursday too, and, well, it’s bad news for Democrats: The Trump campaign raised $46 million in the fourth quarter. Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, tweeted “this is a big, unprecedented number at this point,” and said the totals will be “awe-inspiring" when combined with yet-to-be-released totals from the Republican National Committee.
More alarming for the Left, the Trump campaign has more than $100 million of unspent money, a luxury for someone not facing serious primary opposition, in contrast to a crowded Democratic field full of candidates busy spending their money against each other.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during a campaign event at Winterset Middle School Commons on December 30, 2019 in Winterset, Iowa. The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses will take place on February 3, 2020, making it the first nominating contest for the Democratic Party in choosing their presidential candidate to face Donald Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)