Sanders rakes in donations following primary win


BURLINGTON >> Bernie Sanders followed the New Hampshire primary with a fundraising bonanza that netted more than $5.2 million in the first 18 hours after he delivered his victory speech.

Then, in an effort to build support among African-Americans, key in South Carolina, he met with influential black leader the Rev. Al Sharpton. The next Democratic presidential test is the Nevada caucuses Feb. 20, followed by the South Carolina primary a week later.

Sanders, like many candidates, used his victory speech in New Hampshire to make a direct pitch for donations.

He said that while others would be heading off to fancy fundraisers, he wanted to continue the small donation approach.

"Help us raise the money we need to take the fight to Nevada, South Carolina and the states on Super Tuesday," he said, asking supporters to shell out what they could.

"So, there it is, that's our fundraiser," he concluded. "Pretty quick."

The cash came pouring in after the plea, with an average donation of $34.

Sanders has demonstrated an impressive fundraising apparatus throughout his campaign. He even outraised Hillary Clinton in January, netting $20 million to the former secretary of state's $15 million. His average donation was $24.

Much of the money raised after New Hampshire will be directed to Nevada and South Carolina.

South Carolina, in particular, is an uphill battle for Sanders, who has struggled to gain support particularly among people of color. Sanders is investing big in radio and television ad buys in the Palmetto State, his campaign recently announced.

Also this week, a group unaffiliated with Sanders released a powerful television commercial, calling for Americans to "vote together."

Wednesday morning Sanders dined with Sharpton in New York City to talk about issues facing African-American communities. Sharpton said he planned to meet with Clinton next week and would likely endorse one or the other after that.

Beyond the Sharpton meeting, Sanders won an endorsement from singer and prominent civil rights activist Harry Belafonte.

Respected black intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has been critical of Sanders in the past for not supporting reparations, also said he would vote for Sanders but not campaign for him.

"One can say Sen. Sanders should have more explicit anti-racist policy within his racial justice platform, not just more general stuff, and still cast a vote for Sen. Sanders," Coates said in an interview Wednesday on "Democracy Now!"

In a sign of her strength with African-American politicians, Clinton was endorsed by the political wing of the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday.

After South Carolina, Sanders is betting on wins in a number of the 11 Super Tuesday states, set to vote March 1. They include Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.

Colorado is another place Sanders expects to do well, and the Vermont senator will travel to Denver on Saturday for a rally at an arena in the city.


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