Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders raised a record-shattering $46 million in February, his campaign announced, marking his highest monthly total since he entered the Democratic presidential campaign more than a year ago.
The one-month sum of his first- and second-quarter hauls and brings his overall total to a staggering $167 million, underlying the massive grassroots support that his anti-establishment campaign has established.
Sanders’ campaign said the money will be used to fuel its post-Super Tuesday strategy, including launching ad buys in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Washington, which will cast their ballots on March 10, and Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, which hold their contests on March 17. The campaign already has ads running in a majority of the 14 Super Tuesday states, which will vote March 3.
Among Sanders’ donors in February, "teacher" was the most common occupation and the five most common employers were Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, the United States Postal Service and Target, his campaign said. The average donation was $21.
“We’re especially proud that of the more than 2 million donations we received this month, over 1.4 million were from voters in states that vote on Super Tuesday,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement.
Fundraising doesn't necessarily show who's going to win the primary, but it's an important indication of enthusiasm for a candidate and is necessary to propel the contenders through an arduous and expensive primary process.
Sanders’ campaign announcement came after former Vice President Joe Biden scored a decisive victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. It was the fourth nominating contest so far in the race to pick a challenger to headline the Democratic ticket against incumbent President Trump in November. Sanders won back-to-back victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, and tied with Pete Buttigieg in Iowa.
Buttigieg dropped out of the race on Sunday.
Biden’s campaign announced that it raised $5 million alone the day of the South Carolina primary, bringing his February total to $18 million.
Meanwhile, rival Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s yet to place above third place in the four early-voting states, reported a $29 million haul last month, her campaign manager Roger Lau said in a memo to supporters. In the memo, Lau argued that Warren still has a path to the nomination because no candidate has a clear way to secure the majority of delegates.
Candidates need 1,991 delegates to become the Democratic nominee; a combined 1,357, or about one-third of the total, will be allotted on Super Tuesday alone. If Sanders or another candidate fails to secure the necessary delegates to clinch the nomination on the first ballot, the nominating battle could turn into a messy fight between contenders seeking to sway their rivals’ delegates, or by courting superdelegates.
“As the dust settles after March 3, the reality of this race will be clear,” Lau wrote. “No candidate will likely have a path to the majority of delegates needed to win an outright claim to the Democratic nomination.”