Recent polls suggest a photo-finish for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in next week’s California primary, but new fundraising numbers show the former secretary of state is in much better financial shape to pivot toward what promises to be an expensive general election race with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
The Democratic frontrunner raised $27 million in the month of May, her campaign said Wednesday. That’s a boost from April’s $26.4 million haul and leaves her with $42 million in the bank.
Sanders hasn’t reported his May fundraising numbers yet, but his campaign had less than $6 million cash on hand at the end of April. And that was before he started investing almost all of his resources into the California primary, including a $1.5 million television ad buy, according to ABC News.
April marked the first time this year that Clinton outraised Sanders. The shift in fundraising fortunes may have marked an important transition point in which the party faithful finally began to coalesce around Clinton.
This weekend Sanders said he wasn’t worried about his resources potentially drying up. “We have gotten almost eight million individual campaign contributions, $27 on average,” he said during an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“That is what I will do in the general election. And I think, instead of having two million contributors that number will go up by five-fold,” Sanders added, boldly suggesting he could take in $270 million for a match-up against Trump.
“We will win this campaign when you have eight, 10 million people contributing $25, $30 who are involved in the process who are prepared to take on the big super PACs and the billionaires who will fund Trump's campaign,” Sanders said.
To date, Clinton has raised more than $240 million for her White House bid, while Sanders raised almost $213 million through April. The near-parity in fundraising has come as a surprise to many political analysts.
A win in California would give Sanders’ fundraising operations a shot in the arm and might provide him with enough cash to made good on his vow to keep campaigning until the Democratic convention this summer.
Sanders trails Clinton by hundreds of delegates and his last-ditch attempt to get superdelegates to switch sides won’t be helped if it looks like his financial tank is running dry.