Sanders raises $25.3M in 3rd quarter, but Trump swamps all

October 2, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2019 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop at the Carson City Community Center Gymnasium in Carson City, Nev.

WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders raked in $25.3 million over the past three months, putting him on top of the Democratic presidential fundraising field for now. But in a sign of what he and his rivals are up against, President Donald Trump and his allies raised $125 million.

Other leading Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have yet to reveal their fundraising figures for the third quarter.

But the staggering sum on the Republican side, which was split between the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, highlights the cash gulf between Democrats and the GOP. It could revive anxieties among Democrats that a protracted primary featuring nearly 20 candidates could be counterproductive while Trump builds a massive cash advantage that can be used against the ultimate nominee.

"This is a (ton) of money," Bakari Sellers, a top surrogate for California Sen. Kamala Harris, tweeted in reference to Trump's fundraising. Although activists who contribute small amounts online have been widely celebrated, he said that won't stand up to the Trump operation. "Small dollar donations alone ain't going to save our democracy."

Sanders posted the largest quarterly sum for a Democratic White House hopeful this year. The haul ensures the Vermont senator will be an enduring presence in the primary even as Warren and Biden have surpassed him in some polls. Much of the money he raised came from his army of small-dollar online contributors.

Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg, who entered the race as the little-known mayor of South Bend, Indiana, pulled in $19.1 million. That's an almost $6 million dip from his field-leading sum last quarter but a figure that's all but certain to place him in the top tier.

Now the question turns to how much money Biden and Warren raised during the third quarter. The former vice president and the Massachusetts senator are in an increasingly close race for first place, according to several polls.

There's a growing sense of urgency for the White House hopefuls as the primary becomes a fierce battle for a limited pool of cash. In the days and hours before Monday's deadline, they pleaded for money, making appeals on social media and collectively blasting out more than 80 emails asking supporters to "chip in" $5, $10 or $50. The third-quarter figures have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.

Those outside the top tier are facing pressure to post competitive numbers or get out. They will not only face challenges paying for advertising to amplify their message, but are also likely to struggle reaching fundraising thresholds set by the Democratic National Committee to qualify for future debates.

"If you are being outraised 3-to-1 by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, you have no viable path to victory," said Rufus Gifford, Barack Obama's former finance director. "Even if you can compete in the early states ... shortly thereafter you will run out of money."

Over the summer, Harris kept up an aggressive fundraising schedule to stockpile the cash needed to build up her operation in early states. Yet she did not improve on her past performance amid a series of stumbles and restarts. The $11.6 million she reported raising keeps virtually even with her totals from each of the past two quarters, suggesting she hasn't caught on with much of the party's activist donor base.

Still, it's enough to keep her in contention in the months to come, and Harris' campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, said they were "built to win this primary."

Others face dimmer odds.

Cory Booker recently warned that unless he juiced his fundraising numbers by an additional $1.7 million he'd likely have to drop out. The New Jersey senator announced Tuesday he was "proud" of his team for surpassing the goal while pulling in a total of $6 million for the quarter.

But campaign manager Addisu Demissie then issued a memo stating they'd have to do even better and raise $3 million by the end of October.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who has also struggled to raise money, is applying for public financing, turning to a fund that is replenished by those who volunteer to chip in $3 from their taxes. He hopes it will supplement his campaign with a $2 million boost, though the FEC board does not currently have enough commissioners to sign off on the request.

The third quarter came to a close as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress related to his attempts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden. The development has scrambled politics in Washington but has turned into a fundraising rallying cry for both major political parties.

Trump has turned his outrage over the inquiry into a flood of campaign cash. Trump and the RNC reported raising $13 million in the three days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the probe last week. And Trump's son Eric tweeted later that the total grew to $15 million.

That's a source of worry for some Democrats.

"Trump's presidency is wounded but not mortally wounded, and their operation is as good as it gets," Gifford said.


Bernie Sanders has heart procedure, cancels campaign events

WASHINGTON  — Bernie Sanders' campaign said Wednesday that the Democratic presidential candidate had a heart procedure for a blocked artery and was canceling events and appearances "until further notice."

The 78-year-old Sanders experienced chest discomfort during an event Tuesday and sought medical evaluation, according to a campaign statement. It said two stents were "successfully inserted" and that Sanders "is conversing and in good spirits."

Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, was en route to Las Vegas on Wednesday and said in an email to The Associated Press that her husband was “doing really well.”

The Democratic field’s oldest candidate, Sanders sometimes jokingly refers to his age at town halls and other events, especially when interacting with younger participants. His aides have tried to project him as a candidate with energy levels that surpassed his 2016 presidential campaign.

He is one of three candidates over age 70 in the Democratic primary, which has spurred debate over whether the party should rally behind a new generation of political leaders. His health scare is certain to revive that discussion in the weeks before the next presidential debate this month.

Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, was on a telephone call with supporters Tuesday night but didn't mention any health concerns about the candidate. Shakir said the "state of the campaign is strong" and he played up Sanders' strong fundraising total for the third quarter. The Vermont Senator’s campaign raised $25 million, the highest among the candidates who have reported so far, and scheduled its first television ads in Iowa. On Wednesday, it suspended those spots, too.

Sanders had been among 10 Democratic candidates scheduled to appear later Wednesday at a forum on gun control in Las Vegas. He recently canceled some appearances in South Carolina because he lost his voice. The campaign said at the time he felt fine.

During the first debate in June, Sanders heatedly defended his 76-year-old rival, Joe Biden, after California Rep. Eric Swalwell, 38, said it was time to step aside for a new generation. Sanders told reporters later the question smacked of “ageism.”

“The issue is, who has the guts to take on Wall Street, to take on the fossil fuel industry, to take on the big money interests who have unbelievable influence over the economic and political life of this country?” Sanders said on the stage that night.

The hospitalization also comes as Sanders’ campaign has been trying to turn a corner after a summer that saw him eclipsed as the premier liberal in the field by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70. Sander has dropped well behind Warren and Biden in most polls and recently reshuffled his staffing in early states to become more competitive.

“Given his recent stalls in the polls, the timing is pretty bad here,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley said of Sanders’ heart procedure.

Sanders’ rivals were quick to wish him well. “We want to send our best wishes for a quick recovery to @BernieSanders today,” tweeted Julian Castro, an Obama administration housing chief. Added Sen. Kamala Harris of California: ``If there's one thing I know about him, he's a fighter and I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail soon.”

Sanders’ 2016 campaign nearly overtook Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination. He is a top contender in the 2020 primary, and announced Tuesday that he raised more than $25 million over the past three months. But he is facing stiff competition from former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who have overtaken him in many polls.

Sanders is not the first candidate to face health issues in recent years while seeking the presidency. Clinton had to take time off from campaigning in 2016 after being treated for pneumonia.

In 2000, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, the leading Democratic challenger to then-Vice President Al Gore, had to cut short a campaign swing for treatment of an atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that is treatable but potentially serious. Bradley later resumed his campaign.

In Sanders’ case, when doctors insert a stent, they first thread a tiny balloon inside a blocked artery to widen it. The stent is a small wire mesh tube that then is propped inside to keep the artery open. The number of stents needed depends on the size of the clog.

The treatment can immediately improve symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. The stents are threaded into place through blood vessels in the groin or wrist, requiring only a tiny incision. Most are coated with medication to prevent the targeted artery from reclosing. That is still a risk, requiring monitoring, and patients also often are prescribed blood thinners to prevent clots from forming in the stents.

A letter released by Sanders’ physician in 2016 cited a history of mildly elevated cholesterol but no heart disease.

Zeke Miller and Will Weissert in Washington, DC and Wilson Ring in Burlington, Vermont contributed to this report.

 

Associated Press

 

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