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Bernie Sanders takes the early fundraising lead for 2020

Bernie Sanders takes the early fundraising lead for 2020

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign announced Tuesday that it has raised $18.2 million from just under 900,000 individual donations since launching 41 days ago. In the first six weeks of his campaign, about 525,000 individual donors contributed with an average donation of $20.

Sanders, a US senator from Vermont making his second run for the White House, received 900,000 donations from 525,000 individual donors with the vast majority under age 39, campaign manager Faiz Shakir told reporters. Sanders, for example, raised US$10m, more than half his total, in his first week.

About 20 percent of donors were new supporters of Sanders, he said.

Sanders campaign officials said his first-quarter haul, which included donations from all 50 states, will allow him to expand campaign staff and operations in early voting states in next year's primary contests, which kicks off in Iowa in February. The latest results cement Sanders as a financial front-runner in a growing primary field of more than a dozen candidates.

The Vermont independent announced his second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in February, and raised almost $6 million on the first day of his campaign and $10 million during the first week. Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur who's never held political office, has raised just $1.7 million, but his campaign says it's come from about 80,000 donors averaging less than $18 per contribution.

Sanders' first quarter haul tops all other 2020 Democratic candidates who have reported their fundraising totals. Sen.

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When Beto O'Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, entered the race, he raised $6.1m in a day.

Fundraising totals are a closely watched early indicator of a candidate's support, and Sanders has outpaced the other two Democrats who have announced totals.

This shift largely reflects politicians reacting to a progressive base that looks with suspicion and distrust on big-money donors.

Shakir emphasized that most of Sanders' contributions came from small-dollar donors who are likely to give again later in the campaign.

Sanders, Harris and Buttigieg touted their fundraising numbers on social media. Still, her campaign reported receiving 98 percent of contributions in amounts smaller than $100.

MA senator Elizabeth Warren announced earlier this year that her campaign would not hold any formal fundraising events and instead rely exclusively on "small-dollar" donations, or contributions collected online. Traditional fundraising isn't going away, Giffin said in a recent interview, "but that grassroots money can more than make up for it, and candidates have to prove they can do that".