Third-quarter fundraising numbers are out, and they show a notable shift toward Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic money primary.
The top two Democratic contenders are also beating the Republican field handily in direct campaign donations. But Republicans are cleaning the Democrats’ clocks when it comes to Super PAC funding. Tens of millions of dollars from a relatively small number of very big donors appear to be serving as a firewall of sorts as the Republican Party struggles against demographic changes that tend to favor their Democratic rivals.
On the Democratic side, there’s been a significant shift in momentum. In the previous quarter, which ended in June, the Clinton campaign took in more than three times as much as Sanders’s insurgent campaign. But the data released this week, which tracked donations through the end of September, showed Sanders raising $26.2 million to Clinton’s $29.9 million.
For the cycle, Clinton’s raised $3.7 million more than the populist from Vermont, but her campaign has also blown through more cash than any other candidate—overall, she’s spent more than Sanders has raised during this cycle—and she ended the quarter with $33 million, just $6 million more than her closest challenger.
Sanders is dominating all other candidates among small donors, which could give him a marked advantage as the primary continues. Almost three-quarters of his haul this quarter came from donors giving $200 or less, and the campaign told the Huffington Post that only 270 of his nearly 700,000 donors—less than half of 1 percent—have given the maximum individual contribution of $2,700 for the primary. That means that Sanders can go back to his donor base repeatedly as the race progresses.
Only 17 percent of Clinton’s contributions were from small donors. According to Politico, more than half of her take last quarter was from donors who are now maxed out and can’t give again until the general election gets underway.
On the other side of the aisle, Ben Carson’s ideology couldn’t be more different from Sanders’s, but his fundraising profile was similar. His campaign raised almost $21 million dollars last quarter—top among Republicans—and 60 percent of that money came from small donors. (A larger share of Donald Trump’s take, 71 percent, was from people giving $200 or less, but apparently there aren’t that many folks lining up to give a billionaire their hard-earned dollars, and his overall totals were less than those of Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.)