Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he has raised $33 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, all of it for his primary campaign. By comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $37 million for her primary campaign, but also an additional $18 million for the Democratic Party in the general election. Sanders had a very high burn rate for the quarter, spending 96% of what he took in, around $31.7 million.
Fairly or unfairly, Sanders’ failure to raise any money at all for the party is a weakness, even given the recent hostilities between the campaign and the DNC. Party stalwarts already viewed the non-Democrat with suspicion, and this information won’t help. Money for the party is ultimately critical in the general election, not just for the nominee but for broader campaign activities as well. This passage won’t help heal the rifts, either.
While Clinton has coordinated with the National Democratic Committee to raise an additional $18 million, Sanders has not replicated those efforts, despite an arrangement with the national party that allows him to do so.
Sanders and the DNC have had a turbulent relationship in recent months, punctuated by a lawsuit Sanders filed against the DNC in the wake of a controversy over a breach in a DNC voter database committed by several Sanders staffers.
“We remain happy to work with them,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Saturday, when asked about joint fundraising efforts. “The party hasn’t given us any dates for events.”
For the year, Clinton raised $112 million to Sanders’ $73 million. Clinton has $38 million in the bank heading into 2016, compared to Sanders’ $28 million.