As Democrats Look To General Election, Clinton Raises More Money Than Sanders

May 2, 2016
Originally published on May 2, 2016 4:56 pm

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign raised $26.4 million last month, beating the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders financially for the first time in 2016.

Sanders has routinely outpaced Clinton in fundraising this year thanks to a dedicated base of small donors. But these latest numbers indicate a political pivot; Clinton's fundraising is accelerating while Sanders' is slowing.

The Sanders campaign, which released its fundraising numbers Sunday, raised about $25.8 million in April, down dramatically from the $46 million he raised the month before.

In total, the former secretary of state has raised about $213.5 million. Sanders has raised a similar amount — $210 million — but from far more individual donors giving small amounts online; his average donation is around $27.

Sanders says he will continue his campaign fight through the end of the primary calendar, although he is cutting his staff substantially and his odds of winning the Democratic nomination outright are almost mathematically impossible. His April fundraising numbers may be a sign that his supporters realize the presidency is increasingly out of his grasp.

The latest fundraising numbers also suggest the Clinton campaign is looking ahead to a general election fight, with $30 million in the bank. The Sanders campaign did not report how much cash it has on hand.

Priorities USA Action, a superPAC that supports Clinton, announced last month that it raised $11.8 million in March and has more than $44 million cash on hand.

Clinton also raised $9.5 million in April for the Hillary Victory Fund — a joint fundraising operation that includes the Clinton presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 state parties.

In theory, that money is supposed to filter down to the DNC and the state parties that take part in the joint fundraising committee.

But according to an analysis of FEC records by Politico, less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised has actually trickled into state party coffers. The Politico story finds that most of the money spent by the Hillary Victory Fund has gone toward campaign expenses that benefit Clinton.

The Sanders campaign has expressed concern that the Hillary Victory Fund is a tactic to sidestep current FEC regulations to solicit six-figure donations. NPR's Peter Overby evaluated those claims here. Sanders also has a joint fundraising committee with the DNC, the Bernie Victory Fund, but it has remained dormant.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.