(Politico) - Bernie Sanders has raised about $15 million since he launched his presidential campaign on April 30, his campaign announced Thursday.
The Vermont senator, whose insurgent campaign is challenging front-runner Hillary Clinton from the left, had an average donation of $33.51. The campaign received nearly 400,000 contributions from about 250,000 people, and 99 percent of those donations were $250 or less.
Sanders, an ardent campaign finance reform advocate who has refused a super PAC, doesn’t have much of a fundraising strategy to court big donors. The campaign said that the vast majority of donations were made online.
Sanders has more than $12 million on hand, according to a source close to the campaign, who added that there’s no campaign debt or candidate loans from the candidate. The person added that the campaign has more than 50 staffers on payroll, including 30 people on the ground in Iowa.
It’s a good start for the Sanders campaign, which has set a goal of raising $40 million-$50 million before next year’s Iowa caucuses. The numbers come a day after the Clinton campaign announced it raised more than $45 million in her first quarter as a candidate with 91 percent of the donations $100 or less.
On Tuesday, Sanders released a statement knocking his fellow presidential candidates’ last-minute cash dash before the June 30 FEC deadline, calling it “a national disgrace.” That day, he sent a fundraising email to his supports asking for $3 donations and accusing billionaire class super PACs of “already running ads against our campaign.”
Sanders raised more than $5 million for his last two Senate reelection bids and will continue to court financial support from organized labor, a core constituency of his.
The senator, who has long had an robust social media presence, has been surging in early-state and national polls and has hosted huge crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire and progressive cities across the country. One day after his campaign hosted the biggest rally of the cycle with 10,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin, a new Quinnipiac Iowa poll showed him polling at 33 percent in the state, up 18 points in two months.
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