Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $19.1 million in campaign cash over the past three months, beating the take of similarly politically progressive rival Sen. Bernie Sanders during the same period.
The numbers suggest Warren may be viewed as a more politically viable alternative to Sanders. And, as the New York Times reports, the Massachusetts senator also seemingly has impactful connections to donors, given that she managed to raise in this quarter more than three times the $6 million she took in during the three months prior—all without any fundraising events.
“We raised more money than any other 100% grassroots-funded campaign,” Warren campaign manager Roger Lau wrote in an email to supporters Monday. “You sent a message that Elizabeth’s vision for the future is worth fighting for.”
Lau’s message pointed up the fact that while Warren’s take was third behind Democratic rivals former Vice President Joe Biden ($21.5 million) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg ($24.8 million), both Biden and Buttigieg did traditional fundraising.
“Almost everything going well for [Warren] lately traces to her decision not to devote her time and energy to wealthy donor access, but instead to building organization and talking about problems facing the country and solutions,” Warren senior adviser Dan Geldon tweeted last month, Politico reports. “It’s the right way to run for President.”
Sanders, who raised $18 million in the quarter, similarly has avoided the political fundraiser circuit, thus further calling attention to whether Warren is cutting in to his support.
Warren’s ability to surpass [Sanders] this quarter suggests that her operation is quickly gaining on the Vermont senator.
Warren has gradually been trying to establish herself as a progressive alternative to Sanders, with splashy proposals to forgive $600 billion in student debt and impose a “wealth tax” on people with assets over $50 million. After several months of varying answers on Medicare for All — Sanders’ signature issue — Warren has recently deployed a simple response on the issue: “I’m with Bernie.”
It was an answer that left Sanders one less way to distinguish himself on policy from Warren.
That said, it remains to be seen whether Warren will be able to continue drawing support at this level or better. As the Times notes:
[...] the third quarter is a traditionally difficult fund-raising period, and Ms. Warren must also overcome concerns that linger among Democrats over how she would fare against Mr. Trump in a general election. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll published last week, just 7 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said Ms. Warren had the best chance to beat Mr. Trump next year.