Bernie Sanders campaign raises $20 million in January

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#TheBern just keeps getting hotter.

Supporters of Bernie Sanders encouraging you to #FeelTheBern have plenty of reason to celebrate: the progressive Democrat just announced that his campaign raised a whopping $20 million in the first month of 2016.

Sanders’ formidable announcement comes on the eve of the Iowa caucus, in which he currently trails Hillary Clinton by an average of five percentage points. The amount comes on the heels of the campaign’s previous fundraising of $33.6 million in the final three months of 2015, just behind Clinton’s $37 million for the same three-month period.

The campaign claimed in a press release Sunday that it had not taken money from wealthy super PACs, presumably because the Vermont senator wants to avoid participation in “a corrupt system of campaign finance.” However, the Sanders campaign has received considerable donations from large groups of donors pooling their funds, including National Nurses United and Friends of the Earth Action. The Clinton campaign has likewise garnered support from several major Super Pacs sourced from more wealthy contributors.

Campaign manager Jeff Weaver credited Sanders’ success to his ability to do grassroots fundraising among small donors. The campaign claimed to have received donations from “more than 770,000 individual contributions” for the month of January alone, and to have achieved a groundbreaking number of individual donations overall: 3.25 million.

The campaign has had considerable success online, with numerous grassroots movements evolving on social media platforms, particularly those like Tumblr, which skew demographically younger and more progressive. An early Tumblr post urging community members to vote for Sanders has racked up almost 150,000 notes; another has over 230,000. One popular post from the Tumblr “studentsforbernie” urges Tumblr members to register to vote in order to support Sanders. 

By contrast, support for Clinton on social media platforms like Tumblr is much more measured, and likely to be tempered with cynicism over Sanders’ lack of viability as a candidate. 

Yet Sanders’ fundraising tally for January clearly implies that he’s ready to go many more rounds with Clinton. 

“Working Americans chipping in a few dollars each month are not only challenging but beating the greatest fundraising machine ever assembled,” Weaver said.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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The Clinton and Sanders campaigns have agreed to participate in more debates, pending DNC approval.
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