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Update 4/3 2:30 p.m. ET: Beto O'Rourke announced Wednesday that his campaign had raised $9.4 million in 18 days, with 218,000 individual contributions. O'Rourke said 98 percent of the donations were under $200. Although he fell short of Sanders' fundraising, O'Rourke's hauled in more than half of Bernie's fundraising tally in about half as many days.
Bernie Sanders leads the pack of 2020 candidates in first-quarter fundraising. In the 41 days since he announced his (second) bid for the White House, the Vermont senator has pulled in $18.2 million, his campaign announced Tuesday.
That puts him ahead of the two other 2020 contenders who've announced their hauls for first-quarter fundraising, which ended Sunday night: California Sen. Kamala Harris ($12 million) and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana ($7 million).
Sanders’ campaign highlighted that the vast majority of his donations came from small-dollar donors — from teachers, more than any other occupation. He received just short of 900,000 individual donations, with 99.5 percent of them at $100 or less. The average campaign donation to Sanders is $20. At this point, his campaign also has a lot more momentum than it did at the same point in 2016. It took 146 days to reach 900,000 individual donations back then.
Harris said 98 percent of her donations came from small-dollar donors. Buttigieg’s haul is surprising, considering that more than half of registered voters aren’t aware of him. He has not released the number of donors or many other specifics about the $7 million he raised. He also hasn’t formally announced his candidacy; he announced an exploratory committee in late January.
Unlike other Democrats, Sanders has no plans to hold big-money fundraisers and has not courted big-name donors. Harris, for example, reportedly rubbed elbows with Hollywood powerhouses Sunday night at the home of the president of the MGM Motion Picture Group. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker also reportedly held fundraising events last week with venture capitalists and high-dollar investors.
Sanders also did well early in the crowded field of 2020 candidates. He raised $5.9 million during his campaign’s first 24 hours, behind only Beto O’Rourke, who raised $6.1 million the first day and has yet to announce his first-quarter fundraising numbers.
The other progressive standout in the 2020 race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is reportedly struggling with fundraising. Like Sanders, she’s attempting to fund her campaign through small-dollar donations alone, a move that caused her finance director to resign, according to the New York Times.
Cover image: Independent presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the We the People Membership Summit, featuring the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, at the Warner Theater, in Washington, Monday, April 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)