DES MOINES, Iowa >> Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised more than $34.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, his presidential campaign said today, yet another display of his enduring financial might fueled by a huge base of grassroots donors.
Sanders received more than 1.8 million donations in the quarter, with an average donation of $18.53.
His fourth-quarter total is larger than any candidate has raised in a single quarter so far in the primary race. And it soundly eclipsed the totals of two other candidates who have reported figures for the three-month period from Oct. 1 until Dec. 31: On Wednesday, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign said he took in more than $24.7 million in the quarter, and earlier Thursday, Andrew Yang, a little-known entrepreneur when he entered the race, said he raised $16.5 million in that period.
Still, taken together, the high totals suggest the willingness of Democrats eager to defeat President Donald Trump to open their checkbooks and donate to potential nominees.
But Trump still retains a formidable fund-raising advantage: On Thursday his reelection campaign said it had raised $46 million in the final quarter of 2019. That total does not include funds raised for Trump by the Republican National Committee or other associated committees.
The Trump campaign said it had raised $143 million for 2019 and held a staggering $102.7 million in cash on hand.
Sanders revealed his fundraising haul a day after announcing that he had received more than 5 million donations since entering the race, which he said was more “than any campaign has received at this point in a presidential election in the history of our country.”
Sanders has raised more than $96 million since he announced he was running for president last February.
His fundraising success underscores why Sanders remains such a formidable candidate in the race: Despite having a heart attack that threatened to derail his bid in early October, he retains loyal supporters who are faithful to him — and undaunted by his setbacks — in a way that no other candidates’ supporters are.
That devotion did not just help revive Sanders’ campaign; it has buttressed his fundraising prowess and kept him a front-runner, in Iowa and elsewhere. Now, with less than five weeks until the caucuses here, even Democratic officials acknowledge he is being underestimated.
His campaign has already earmarked tens of millions of dollars for television advertising in the first four nominating states and California — a tangible benefit of being so flush with cash. He can also begin to advertise and build organizational strength in other Super Tuesday states, an advantage few of his rivals can match.
And the huge influx of money gives him the resources to persist well into the primary season, unless he completely flops with voters in early states.
Two other leading candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have not yet disclosed their fundraising totals.
In a statement, Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, said Sanders “is proving each and every day that working class Americans are ready and willing to fully fund a campaign that stands up for them and takes on the biggest corporations and the wealthy.”
He added: “You build a grassroots movement to beat Donald Trump and create a political revolution one $18 donation at a time, and that’s exactly why Bernie is going to win.”
Sanders’ campaign said he had raised more than $18 million, from more than 900,000 donations, just in the month of December. It also said it had received contributions from more than 40,000 new donors on the last day of the year.
The total for the fourth quarter easily surpassed what he raised in the third quarter, $25.3 million. That total — which he announced hours before he began to experience chest pains at a campaign event in Las Vegas — was the largest in the Democratic field, narrowly exceeding the total raised by Warren, who is also relying on small donations.
While Warren’s campaign has acknowledged that its fundraising slipped in the fourth quarter, Sanders’ accelerated.
His total for the fourth quarter showed the continuing strength of his grassroots fundraising base, a significant advantage for him, especially if the primary race turns out to be a lengthy one. Supporters who give him small amounts can continue to donate over and over, unlike big donors, many of whom give the maximum contribution of $2,800 for the primary race.
His campaign said 99.99% of donors had not maxed out.