Moments after his massive victory in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took a gamble Tuesday night by delivering a victory speech that was part a laundry list of policies he would pursue as president and part a direct fundraising appeal to voters.
The strategy paid off. Handsomely.
On Wednesday, the democratic-socialist’s campaign announced it had raised over $5.2 million in the 18 hours since polls closed in the Granite State. The average donation was just $34 and the total haul beat Sanders’ previous record for the most money raised in less than a day.
“I'm going to hold a fundraiser right here, right now, across America,” the 74-year-old Sanders told the crowd gathered for his victory speech in Concord. “My request is please go to BernieSanders.com and contribute. Please help us raise the funds we need, whether it's $10 bucks, $20 bucks, or $50 bucks. Help up us raise the money we need to take the fight to Nevada, South Carolina, and the states on Super Tuesday.”
The flush of cash is another major piece of good news from the Vermont lawmaker, who last month outraised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, $20 million to $15 million, and has upset the political order with his 22-point win in New Hampshire and photo-finish in last week’s Iowa caucuses.
The haul will no doubt reinforce Sanders’ message that his White House bid is fueled by middle class Americans -- not Super PACs and Wall Street firms, an accusation he has used regularly against Clinton to great effect.
Sanders has shown great fundraising prowess in the face of Clinton’s nationwide political organization.
In the last fundraising quarter of 2015, Sanders reported takin in $73 million for the year, a figure most thought unthinkable when he launched his dark horse candidacy last April. His campaign said it had about $28 million cash on hand.
Meanwhile, Clinton reported $37 million raised in the final quarter, bringing her total haul for the year to $112 million, with $38 million still in the bank.
The gravy train for Sanders is unlikely to stop any time soon, as his fervent supporters hope to give him the financial muscle to storm the “firewall” Clinton is counting on to stop the Sanders surge. The first test will be the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 20, quickly followed by South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 27 and then expands to a series of racially diverse states in the Deep South that go to the polls in early March.
If Sanders can keep up his stunning fundraising clip going, he should have enough cash to spend on par with Clinton and keep the fight for the nomination going well into the spring.