Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats Democrats say they're committed to reducing emissions in Biden plan MORE has raised $15 million in his first two months on the campaign trail as he looks to bankroll his bid against frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s massive war chest.
“It’s a tremendous start, we are on our way to building a massive campaign fundraising organization built on small donors all around the country,” Tad Devine, a Sanders aide, told The Hill, after the campaign released a snapshot of its fundraising totals on its website.
Devine added that the campaign had spent only a “few million” in its first two months, which he believes speaks to the way they will be conserving money for the fight.
Sanders is known for his economic populism, which has trickled down to the campaign’s fundraising strategy. The Vermont independent has said he won’t bless a super-PAC for donors to give unlimited funds to support him.
Sanders received donations from 250,000 people, with 99 percent of those for $250 or less. That’s all part of the Sanders campaign’s plan to build out a large base of as many as one million contributors who aren’t all maxed out under campaign limits, so that they can refinance the campaign down the road, Devine said.
“That’s a strategic objective, we are not trying to find as many people as we can max out who can no longer give us money if we are successful,” he said.
“We’re trying to find as many people as possible who would give us a little money and if we are successful, would be motivated to give us more.”
Sanders’ has said from the start that he knows he’ll be vastly outspent by his opponents, specifically Clinton and her massive fundraising operation. Her campaign announced a record $45 million quarter haul on Thursday.
Devine said that the record-breaking numbers haven’t deterred the campaign.
“If Bernie is going to succeed in this process, and I believe he has a good chance at doing it, it’s going to be because we don’t react to what anybody does—what [Martin] O’Malley does, what Hillary does, [Jim] Webb, what the Republicans are doing. We really have to chart our own, unique, course,” he said.
“They’ve got tonnage on the other side. We have to have the strongest message and the strongest messenger.”
June marked the end of the fundraising deadline for the presidential field. While candidates aren't required to report donations until mid-June, some have preemptively released figures to tout their totals. More specific information on the fundraising efforts will be gleaned from the reports filed in the next few weeks.
This story was updated at 1:42 p.m.