During the final quarter of 2015, Sen. Bernie Sanders managed to raise $33 million in campaign donations. With over a million individual donors making more than 2.5 million contributions, Sanders’ campaign shattered President Obama’s previous record of more than 2.2 million contributions in 2011.
“This people-powered campaign is revolutionizing American politics,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager. “What we are showing is that we can run a strong, national campaign without a super PAC and without depending on millionaires and billionaires for their support. We are making history and we are proud of it.”
Although Sanders’ campaign fell $4 million short of Hillary Clinton’s $37 million contributions received last quarter, Sanders’ supporters are able to donate again because most have not reached their campaign contribution limit. Unlike Sanders’ campaign, Clinton struggled to establish a low-dollar donor base with many of her donors having already reached the maximum limit of $2,700. Instead of targeting wealthy contributors, Sanders’ campaign received small donations averaging $27.16 during the last three months.
GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson reported raising $23 million last quarter, while Sen. Ted Cruz only raised $20 million. Even after refusing to accept any support from super PACs, Sanders’ campaign ended up raising $72.8 million for 2015.
“Bernie is the only candidate generating the kind of broad-based enthusiasm and excitement that Democrats must have in order to raise funds for a general election campaign and keep the White House and make gains in Congress,” Weaver said.
Unlike Clinton’s affluent donors, many of Sanders’ supporters simply cannot afford to contribute the maximum donation limit for his campaign. By taking a grassroots approach, Sanders has gained a better understanding of the escalating financial and racial tensions plaguing the country. On Saturday, Sanders took to Twitter and wrote, “Over half of American workers have less than $10,000 in savings and have no idea how they will be able to retire with any shred of dignity.”