Despite the gloom and doom from pundits about the prospects of Bernie Sanders’ campaign following losses in Nevada and South Carolina, indications from latest fundraising totals are that Sanders’ supporters were still “feeling the Bern” and in very high spirits ahead of Super Tuesday.
The Sanders grassroots fundraising machine raised nearly $6 million in just 24 hours on February 29, ahead of the crucial Super Tuesday test for Sanders when he competes with Democratic presidential nomination front-runner Hillary Clinton. The latest fundraising feat approaches the campaign’s record shattering total of $6.4 million raised in one day earlier in February following the resounding New Hampshire primary victory.
The Clinton campaign, which has not disclosed its fundraising totals, was also pushing for more donations before the end of the month of February with pitches directed against the Republican presidential nomination front-runner Donald Trump. But it is believed widely that the Vermont senator’s campaign may have outraised Clinton campaign for the second consecutive month after outraising the former secretary of state’s campaign in January by nearly $5 million.
With the successful last-minute drive, Bernie Sanders campaign has outstripped the initial goal of $40 million set for February having raised nearly $42 million, about twice the $21 million raised in January.
Sanders’ campaign passed the target of $40 million on February 29 after collecting a grand total of $36 million between February 1 and February 28. The campaign hit the $40.7 million mark about 8 p.m. Monday evening, and by 8:40 p.m. had collected more than $41.5 million.
By the end of the day, Sanders campaign had collected nearly $42 million from more 1.4 million supporters, making an average of $30 per individual over the month.
When it became apparent that the campaign would hit the $42 million mark by the end of the day, the campaign posted a new target of $45 million before midnight to its website. But as of 5:25 a.m. on March 1, Sanders campaign had collected more than $43 million from over 1.45 million individuals.
Sanders’ campaign also released a national television ad on Monday in which the presidential nomination candidate explained the philosophy underlying his grassroots fundraising drive, saying that contributions to political campaigns by wealthy donors were a major factor in the “rigged” and “corrupt” political and economic system.
From a general perspective, the implications of the late-stage fundraising performance by Sanders’ campaign is that he can remain in the Democratic race and keep up the fight for as long he wishes — the only uncertainty being that the campaign has not disclosed its expenditure for February so it is not yet possible to say how much is left to keep the campaign going beyond the epic Super Tuesday battle.
However, figures from the FEC for the end of January showed that Clinton’s campaign had more than twice the cash reserves held by Bernie Sanders campaign, according to USA Today.
But doubts are already being expressed in some quarters about the ability of the Clinton campaign to sustain fundraising momentum. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Clinton campaign has run unexpectedly into money troubles and found itself under financial stress even while the Sanders fundraising machine continues to be showered with millions of dollars from myriads of small but enthusiastic donors.
Clinton’s campaign is believed to be close to exhausting its fundraising base with many donors having already exceeded the limit of $2,700 for campaign donations per individual in the primary.
According to a Clinton loyalist, “The pond is getting fished out. Everyone is sending invitations to the same group of people. And those people have already given as much as they are allowed to give.”
[Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP]