Bernie Sanders Smashes His Previous One Month Fundraising Record With Massive $46 Million in February Contributions

Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders significantly surpassed his previous highest one month fundraising record in February, raising more than $46 million.

The campaign announced the $46.5 million fundraising haul—which came from 2.2 million campaign contributions, including 350,000 first time donors—on Sunday after the senator from Vermont's first clear loss in the primary until now. Former Vice President Joe Biden won South Carolina on Saturday, taking nearly 30 percent more of the vote than Sanders, who came in at a distant second in the southern state.

Sanders' massive February haul dwarfed his previous record of $25 million, which came in January. That month, the presidential hopeful received contributions from more than 680,000 people nationwide. In total, Sanders has garnered nearly $170 million in campaign contributions, all coming from small donors as he has sworn off money from billionaires and support from Super PACs.

"The senator's multigenerational, multiracial working class coalition keeps fueling his campaign for transformational change a few bucks at a time," Faiz Shakir, the senator's campaign manager, said in a statement via a campaign press release about the fundraising.

"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."

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders addresses supporters during a campaign rally in the Batten Student Center on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University on February 29 in Virginia Beach, Virginia Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Newsweek has reached out to the Sanders campaign for further comment on the fundraising haul and its plans for ad spending as the primary season continues.

Of the Democratic contenders, Sanders has become the clear fundraising leader in terms of campaign fundraising. Only billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has outspent the senator from Vermont, using over $460 million of his own fortune of about $60 billion to fund his unorthodox campaign. Billionaire former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who dropped out of the race on Saturday evening after failing to receive any delegates in the first four primary and caucus states, had also spent more than Sanders–with over $191 million in advertising nationally.

The presumptive Republican nominee, President Donald Trump, is the only presidential contender to have outraised Sanders thus far. At the end of January, his campaign had taken in more than $217 million while outside groups had raised more than $35 million to support his re-election, according to Open Secrets.

Despite Sanders significant loss in South Carolina, the candidate appears strong as he heads into Super Tuesday. He leads by significant margins in many of the crucial states that will be casting ballots on March 3, while he also remains the front-runner with the most delegates. Currently, Sanders has secured 56 delegates while Biden has won 48, with 33 of those coming from his big win in South Carolina.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg trails in third, with 26 delegates so far. Despite performing well in Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg failed to win any delegates in South Carolina, placing a distance fourth, after coming in far behind in third in Nevada.

After it was clear that he had lost South Carolina, Sanders posted to Twitter on Saturday evening congratulating Biden and asking his supporters to contribute more to his campaign.

"I want to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory tonight," the progressive senator tweeted. "I believe very strongly that the people of this country—on Super Tuesday and after—will support us because we are more than a campaign. We are a movement. Chip in tonight to help us go forward."

An average of national polls conducted before the South Carolina primary compiled by Real Clear Politics shows Sanders leading in the race for the Democratic nomination by more than 10 points. The presidential hopeful has about 29.6 percent support while Biden trails with just 18.8 percent. Bloomberg, who will appear for the first time on the ballot during Super Tuesday and has therefore not secured any delegates until now, comes in third with 16.4 percent.

Although Buttigieg is currently third in the delegate count, he is polling at an average of fifth place nationally, with about 11 percent. Senator Elziabeth Warren is in fourth at 11.8 percent, despite only securing eight delegates in the first four voting states.

Sanders has been pushing hard for a big win in California, which will be one of the 15 states and territories voting on Tuesday. California has the largest population of any state and there are 416 delegates up for grabs. Currently Sanders leads by double digits at about 35.3 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. Warren comes in second with 17 percent.

The Vermont senator also has a significant lead in Texas, the second largest state with 228 delegates. Sanders has an average of 28.3 percent support in the state, with Biden polling eight points behind in second at about 20.3 percent.

A total of 4,051 pledged delegates are up for grabs during the Democratic primary season. As a result, a candidate must secure 2,026 to be the clear winner with more than 50 percent going into the Democratic convention in July. If no candidate has a majority, super delegates, of which there are 714, will weigh in during a second round of voting.