Pete Buttigieg still narrowly leads the count in the Iowa caucus, but Bernie Sanders hit the jackpot in January. Tapping into his small-donor base and expanding it, Sanders raised as much money as his closest competitors raised in a quarter, pulling in $25 million to kick off the Democratic primaries. Team Sanders will use a large chunk of that to get TV viewers feeling the Bern over the next month:
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised $25 million in January, his campaign said Thursday, a staggering sum that marks his highest monthly total since entering the race a year ago.
The haul surpassed his totals from the first and second quarters of 2019 combined, and nearly matched his third quarter total of $25.3 million. He led the Democratic primary field with $34.5 million in contributions over the final three months of the year.
Sanders’ campaign spent $50 million during the final quarter of 2019, exceeding its intake, but still began January with $18.2 million in cash-on-hand. His January fundraising figures underscore the enduring power of his grassroots donor base, which will allow him to compete — and spend big — deep into what could be a long and expensive primary contest.
Sanders has built himself a rather handy ATM machine with his donor base, a point Andrew Malcolm made on my show on Tuesday, ahead of these results. He has hundreds of thousands of donors who have made mainly small-ish contributions, which means most of them are still far from hitting the campaign-finance limits. That allows Bernie to keep asking for more contributions from the same people, maintaining a steady cash flow on a broad scale. It doesn’t take much when one has 650,000 contributors; the average contribution in January was just under $19.