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Just moments after his victory speech Tuesday night, senator Bernie Sanders decided there was no harm in requesting aid from his supporters. Namely, Sanders asked them to help him raise the funds he needed, no matter whether they could donate “10 bucks, 20 bucks, or 50 bucks.” Although we cannot be sure what his estimates were, Bernie was probably shocked to see his website collapsing under all the incoming traffic.
He was definitely surprised to find an additional $5.2 million, which his campaign brought in between the closing of the polls and mid-afternoon Wednesday. This turn of events managed to put him in a place very few people saw him in when he first entered the 2016 White House contest: financially competitive with Hillary Clinton. In fact, the senator from Vermont has been collecting donations at a faster and more successful rate than Clinton since the beginning of 2016. As a result, Sanders now has access to significantly more money than he thought he would have, which will greatly assist the rush of coming votes in Nevada, South Carolina and the 11 “Super Tuesday” states (the ones holding the Democratic contest on March 1).
At the very beginning of 2016, Clinton had $10 million more than Sanders in the bank, but Sanders managed to raise $20 million to her $15 million in January, which helped him narrow her overwhelming cash advantage. The most impressive fundraising day was during the 24 hours that followed his close loss in Iowa when he amassed a whopping $3 million.
But what can Sanders do to improve his ratings and win over more votes? A portion of his newfound pile of gold was poured into new TV ads in New Hampshire, where he even managed to outspend Clinton on the airwaves before beating her undeniably. He was more than 20 points in the lead, according to more than 89% percent of precincts.
But what about the rest?
Sanders reckons he finally has a chance to compete across a broad range of states, according to Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior strategist. The plan is to launch ads Wednesday in three Super Tuesday states (Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota), as well as to branch out into a fourth state. It seems that they are aiming at Massachusetts, seeing as the campaign has already been advertising in Boston with an idea to reach additional New Hampshire voters. Providence and Springfield will be added as well.
However, Hillary Clinton still has formidable financial resources in her hands. In 2015, she outraised Sanders $114.4 million to $79.9 million. She also has access to a national network of donors that she and her husband Bill Clinton cultivated over a long period – think over four decades long, actually. More than 700,000 people have contributed to Sanders’ campaign, but it only allowed him to slightly lower the financial difference between him and Hillary – it’s going to take much more than that to actually beat her.
Sanders’ ability to summon copious amounts of cash will provide his campaign some additional cannons for his deck as the race expands to a much larger playing field. He has reportedly deployed paid staff to all the states participating in the vote through March 1, including 50 each to South Carolina and Nevada, where he is also running TV ads.
Moreover, it would seem that Hillary Clinton is rather concerned with the enormous boost of financial power that Sanders is currently enjoying. His fundraising success has prompted urgent email solicitations from Clinton’s campaign to her supporters, stating that, for the first time in this campaign, they are being outraised by their opponent, adding that “this should be a very loud wake-up call.”
Through the end of 2015, Sanders hauled nearly $47 million from donors who gave $200 or less, which amounts to 64% of his total loot and more than twice as much as what Clinton raised through the same contributions. Clinton, however, heavily depends on wealthy backers – she raised 58% of her money in 2015 from contributors who gave the maximum amount, which is $2,700.
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