Bernie Sanders Raises $18.2 Million In First Six Weeks In Campaign

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 01: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the “We the People" summit featuring 2020 presidential candidates, at the Warner Theatre on April 1, 2019 in Washington, DC. The summit is hosted by The Center for Popular Democracy Action, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club and the Communications Workers of America. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) raised $18.2 million in his first six weeks as a candidate, his campaign announced, a large sum that will likely lead the Democratic presidential field.

Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said Tuesday morning that those donations had come from 900,000 donations from 525,000 donors, and the average donation was $20. That number of fell a bit short of the 1 million donations the campaign had set as an internal goal, but will still likely outpace the other candidates in the race.

Sanders’ campaign said he’d raised $32 million total including the money he had in the bank before jumping into the race, and has $28 million cash on hand.

“This campaign will have the resources and the grassroots strength to compete in every state,” Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver said.

Candidates’ first fundraising quarters in the race are a good test of grassroots momentum as well as a measure of whether their campaigns will have the resources to compete across the map. This year’s front-loaded primary schedule will make those early resources even more valuable.

Sanders was long expected to be the biggest fundraiser in the race in the first quarter, due to the digital fundraising juggernaut his team has been building since 2015 and his position at the top of the polls. Given those expectations, the numbers are strong — but not a shock.

For comparison, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), another top-tier candidate who has an impressive team around her, announced she’s raised $12 million so far from 218,000 donations — and 138,000 donors. Harris launched her campaign ten weeks ago, four weeks before Sanders. Upstart South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) announced he raised $7 million since he jumped into the race from 160,000 donors, solid numbers given how little-known he was when he began the race.

In the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton raised a whopping $45 million in her first months as a candidate, a record that still stands but was driven more heavily by large-dollar donations and was helped by a widespread view at the time that she’d run away with the primary. In the 2008 campaign Clinton and Barack Obama both topped $25 million in their first quarters as candidates.

The other candidates in the race have yet to announce their first-quarter fundraising figures — a sign that their hauls aren’t anything to brag about.

This story was last updated at 10:25 a.m.

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