WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bernie Sanders raised more than $34.5 million in the last quarter of 2019, the largest three-month haul for a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, while Republican President Donald Trump drew $46 million on the heels of his impeachment, their campaigns said on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Julian Castro, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden stand on stage at a First in the West Event at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
The new figures brought Sanders’ total campaign fundraising last year to $96 million, making him the leading fundraiser so far among 14 Democrats vying to face Trump in November’s presidential election. States begin choosing candidates next month with the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 3.
Trump, a polarizing president popular with a large majority of Republicans but vilified by many Democrats, maintained his formidable fundraising edge over Democrats with a surge of donations following his impeachment last month by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
“Democrats and the media have been in a sham impeachment frenzy and the president’s campaign only got bigger and stronger with our best fundraising quarter this cycle,” his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said in a statement.
Some Democrats have not yet disclosed their fourth-quarter fundraising numbers, but those who did had strong showings. Pete Buttigieg raised $24.7 million in the fourth quarter, a hefty total expected to land him among the top fundraisers in the Democratic field, while businessman Andrew Yang raised $16.5 million, well over the nearly $10 million he took in last quarter.
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont who wants to reduce the sway of corporate America and economic inequality, has built his campaign on small donations, largely through online fundraising from an ethnically diverse, mostly young coalition of supporters.
Campaign manager Faiz Shakir said Sanders’ “grassroots movement” showed he was the best placed candidate to defeat Trump.
“He 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,” Shakir said in a statement.
Sanders, 78, bounced back from a heart attack in early October to win growing support for his platform of expanding government-run healthcare, making college free, and investment in renewable energy paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy.
The Trump campaign begins the 2020 re-election year with cash on hand of $102.7 million, his campaign said, an amount that will help his bid to compete in states beyond those that carried him to his surprise victory in 2016.
Reporting by Simon Lewis and Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis