Kamala Harris set the pace initially with $1.5 million on her first day. Then Bernie jumped in and quadrupled her, raking in $5.9 million to show that the money machine his grassroots fans built for him in 2016 is still fearsome. Then along came Beto, who stunned the field with $6.1 million in his first 24 hours courtesy of the Betomaniacs who powered his Texas Senate run.

Biden’s always had a rap as a weak fundraiser and he knows that the media’s spoiling for an “Uncle Joe falls flat on his face” storyline to define his launch. If his first 24 hours of donations had been poor, a million media flowers would have bloomed overnight about how his frontrunner status is already beginning to fade, how he lacks the support of populist heroes like Bernie and Beto, and how he’s apt to find himself outgunned by the left before very long. I bet he pulled every string available to him over his 50 years as a national figure to produce this number and beat back the “Biden DOA” storyline, for now.

The Biden for President campaign has raised $6.3 million in its first 24 hours, topping every other 2020 presidential campaign in the first true 24 hours of fundraising. The final number includes 107,431 online donations from 96,926 individuals in all 50 states. 65,000 donations came from individuals who are new and did not originate from existing email lists, an unprecedented number for the first day of a campaign…

Other highlights from the first 24 hours of include:

The average online donation was $41

97% of online donations were under $200…

61% of total money and 61% of donations raised online came from new people to our lists

Multiply the average online donation by the number of online donations and you get a total that’s a shade over $4.4 million. Where’d the other $1.9 million come from? Hmmmm:

The former vice president was so concerned about his first-day haul that he made sure to throw a fundraiser, hosted at the Philadelphia home of a Comcast executive, on the day of his announcement and told donors the day before that he needed their help.

“People think Iowa and New Hampshire are the first test It’s not. The first 24 hours. That’s the first test,” Biden told them, according to three participants in a Wednesday conference call with him. “Those [early states] are way down the road. We’ve got to get through this first.”

Donations to a campaign are capped by law at a few thousand dollars, remember, so he didn’t get it all from that one event. I bet he and his team spent the past month or more working the phones to every well-heeled establishment Democratic donor in the country not only begging them to max out but to do it on day one, for maximum PR impact. “Nice thing about a highly anticipated announcement is that you have a window to cage checks from your max-out donors so your initial numbers really pop. Thank you FedEx,” tweeted consultant Liam Donovan afterward. Biden doesn’t care, though. “His surprising total … far exceeded expectations set by those who suggested the establishment-oriented politician couldn’t compete in the new world of Democratic campaigns fueled by small-dollar donors,” Politico wheezed in reporting on his numbers, precisely the message Biden wanted today. Especially knowing that some big donors and bundlers are holding back until they can gauge his strength, to see if he’s a legit threat to win this race.

Although he topped Bernie by a few hundred thousand dollars in the “first 24 hours” race, Sanders had already banked $18 million total as of April 1. He also has a far larger donor base than Biden’s, it seems, having received donations from from nearly 225,000 people on his first day compared to Biden’s online base of around 97,000. Bernie’s average donation for the past quarter was just $20, a number he prides himself on as evidence that working class people are chipping in with small but meaningful sums to fuel a people-powered campaign. Biden had an advantage that Bernie lacked too — the Obama/Biden email list, which delivered blockbuster fundraising numbers for O for years. (Although experts tell the Times that, after seven years, that list wouldn’t be nearly as reliable now as it used to be.) But those are mere details. His goal was to win the “invisible primary” on day one, to shape perceptions within the party and attract donors and hires to the campaign who might have had doubts about him. He succeeded.

Now we wait until July 1 to find out if today was a one-off money-wise, as it seems to have been for Beto, or the start of something more durable, as it’s been for Bernie. One interesting detail via Politico: ActBlue, the Democrats’ hub for online donations, processed $7.6 million yesterday when normally the average is $1.9 million. Not all of that money went to Biden. Did Bernie and/or other candidates reap a windfall of their own as their supporters rallied to Stop Joe?

Here’s the mother of Heather Heyer noting on CNN this morning that Biden never bothered to call her before referencing her daughter’s death in his launch video. He did call afterward, probably after word got back to him that the left was accusing him of exploiting her death. He has a weird habit of not really bothering to disguise how calculated and election-driven his attempts at personal connection are.