Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has become a financial juggernaut in the Democratic presidential race, raised $25 million in January, a massive sum that he is using to expand investments in staff and television advertising in key states.
The Sanders campaign said Thursday that it will spend more than $5.5 million in television and digital commercials across eight new states, and it will increase its advertising California and Texas, which vote on March 3. The campaign is also increasing staff in other states voting that day, known as Super Tuesday.
In releasing the numbers, Sanders, I-Vt., was signaling that he will have the resources to stay in the race for the long haul. His news came as the campaigns of former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sought to recalibrate after disappointing showings in Iowa. Warren has pulled some TV ads buys and Biden has reshuffled some staff.
The month of January, when Sanders began to surge in the polls, was the campaign’s best fundraising month, it said. More than 648,000 people gave to Sanders – including 219,000 new donors.
“Working class Americans giving $18 at a time are putting our campaign in a strong position to compete in states all over the map,” said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir in a statement.
The announcement came five days before the primary in New Hampshire, where polls have shown Sanders is in strong position to win. In Iowa, state party officials are still tabulating totals from Monday’s caucuses. With 96% of precincts counted, Sanders led in the popular vote, but narrowly trailed former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg among the percentage of delegates earned.
The new $5.5 million investment will go toward ads in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. South Carolina votes on Feb. 29. The rest of the states vote on March 3, when more than a dozen states will hold nominating contests.
Sanders is adding to $2.5 million in ads his campaign had previously reserved that were slated to run in California and Texas, two of the largest Super Tuesday states.
Sanders’ big month brings his total raised this election cycle to $121.3 million – putting him ahead of any candidate other than the two billionaires self-funding their campaigns, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and activist Tom Steyer. At this point in the 2016 presidential contest, Sanders had raised $96.3 million.
Sanders’ total is by far the highest any candidate has reported so far, and it is likely to remain in the lead. Former vice president Joe Biden recently announced to donors that he had the “strongest month of fund-raising since launch,” which placed his January haul at likely just under $10 million. Businessman Andrew Yang announced raising $6.7 million.
The results from Monday night’s caucuses in Iowa are likely to boost Sanders’s fundraising even further, along with that of Buttigieg, who has also been a formidable fundraiser by tapping powerful networks of wealthy patrons.
Meanwhile, Warren, who failed to generate a fundraising bump after the Iowa results started coming in, said she is trying to conserve cash. Since Tuesday, her campaign has pulled nearly $500,000 worth of ads from Nevada and South Carolina, two states that vote this month.
Sanders had the most cash in his campaign account entering January – a big advantage as the primaries are set to become even more expensive. By the time Super Tuesday comes around, the surviving candidates are likely to face Bloomberg, who has already spent $250 million of his own money on ads since entering the race in late November. He recently ordered his aides to double his spending after the mishaps in reporting of the Iowa caucus results.
Sanders entered January with $18.2 million in cash on hand, more than other top-polling candidates. Buttigieg had $14.5 million; Warren had $13.7 million; and Biden had $9 million, according to federal filings of the figures as of Dec. 31. New numbers that will be released on Feb. 20 will show how the candidates fared during the month of January.
Sanders was the standout Democratic fundraiser in 2019, generating 1.4 million donors from across the country. Among presidential hopefuls, he has built the most loyal and diverse base of donors, with people often donating in small increments. He also has one of the most diverse bases as well, according to a Washington Post analysis.
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · Sean Sullivan, Michelle Ye Hee Lee