Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign said Wednesday it has raised $45 million since its launch in mid-April, with the vast majority of its donors having given less than $100.
But while Clinton’s aides touted their success with such small-dollar donors, the leading Democrat in the 2016 race also pulled in a large chunk of campaign cash from donors who are giving her the maximum allowed by law.
Clinton is among the more than a dozen White House hopefuls to declare their 2016 ambitions in the past three months, and Tuesday was the last day for their campaigns to collect donations that must be reported to federal regulators by July 15.
Along with Republican Ben Carson, whose campaign said it had raised $8.3 million, Clinton offered a preview Wednesday of what she’ll disclose in the formal recording of who donated to her campaign in the past three months.
The campaign of the former first lady did so by bragging about the number of its small-dollar donors and saying she is on track to break the previous record for primary money raised in a candidate’s first fundraising quarter, set by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2011 at $41.9 million.
“Thank you so much for being part of this campaign. I’m grateful for all you’ve done and excited for what comes next,” Clinton wrote in a handwritten message, a photo of which was posted on Twitter.
Clinton’s haul — a total more akin to an amount raised by an incumbent than a candidate seeking the office — is an unquestioned show of strength. She’s already using some of that money to build the kind of national organization needed to compete in the general election, having placed organizers in all 50 states and the U.S. territories — including deeply Democratic states such as Connecticut and Minnesota.
The campaign released few details beyond its overall fundraising total. It must disclose the identities of donors who have given at least $200, plus information about how it has spent the money, in the report due in a few weeks to the Federal Election Commission.
But John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, said on Twitter that 91 percent of all of Clinton’s donations were for $100 or less.
“Many people doubted whether we could build an organization powered by so many grassroots supporters,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in an email to supporters. “Today’s announcement proves them wrong.”
Left unsaid was how much the campaign has raised from donors asked to give the legal maximum of $2,700. In recent weeks, Clinton has traveled the country raising money at celebrity-studded events, exclusive gatherings in Hollywood estates and inside Manhattan penthouses.
Clinton has raised at least $19.5 million at 61 such fundraisers, an amount that makes up at least 43 percent of her fundraising total. That percentage is sure to be even higher, because The Associated Press used the most conservative ticket prices to her events to calculate the total raised at each.
Clinton will also benefit from a network of outside groups that don’t adhere to contribution limits. One of them, the super PAC Priorities USA Action, will report having raised about $15 million in the past three months. The group’s leaders anticipate raising far more than the $79 million it collected to help Obama in 2012.
The Clinton campaign’s emphasis on small-dollar donors isn’t unexpected. One of Clinton’s top challengers in the Democratic camp, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has aggressively courted the party’s most liberal grassroots voters by running largely on a platform of reducing income inequality.
During her 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton raised $36 million in the first quarter. At that time, she collected checks for both the primary contest and general election, meaning donors could give up to $5,400. That general election money never became available to her.
This time, her campaign set a goal of raising $100 million in primary money by the end of the year and decided to fundraise only for the primary, meaning contributors can give no more than $2,700. If she becomes the Democratic nominee, she can return to those donors and ask for another $2,700.
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report.
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