Sanders raises more cash but Clinton makes campaign dollars go further

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The Road Ahead For Bernie Sanders

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK April 21 - Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has spent about $15 per vote so far in the race for the party's nomination, less than her rival Bernie Sanders, who spent $22, according to campaign finance reports filed on Wednesday.

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Clinton's efficiency with money could offset concern among some of her backers that Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont, has outraised her in each of the last two months as he wages a fierce fight to get onto the presidential ballot.

The former first lady's campaign has spent a total of $157.8 million since launching last April and has yielded a total of 10.4 million votes in state nominating contests. That includes $28.7 million for 8.7 million votes in March, the filings show.

Sanders, in turn, has spent $168.4 million since launching his bid for the White House, while netting 7.7 million votes.

Sanders' campaign has often touted its ability to tap a large number of small donors to outraise Clinton. In March, Sanders pulled in nearly $46 million from 900,000 people, with an average donation of just over $26, it said.

See Sanders on the campaign trail:

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Bernie Sanders NYC Washington Square rally
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Sanders raises more cash but Clinton makes campaign dollars go further
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Attendees await the start of a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (not pictured) at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Attendees await the start of a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (not pictured) at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
Attendees hold signs in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, at a campaign event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Sanders stepped up his feud with General Electric Co., denouncing the manufacturer as 'greedy' and accusing Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt of not being truthful in responding to the attacks. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Natalia Plaza (L) and Suzanne Tufan, with their faces painted, wait for a campaign rally with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York, New York April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
An attendee wears a t-shirt in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, at a campaign event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Sanders stepped up his feud with General Electric Co., denouncing the manufacturer as 'greedy' and accusing Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt of not being truthful in responding to the attacks. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee holds a sign in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, at a campaign event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Sanders stepped up his feud with General Electric Co., denouncing the manufacturer as 'greedy' and accusing Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt of not being truthful in responding to the attacks. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Rosario Dawson speaks onstage at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (not pictured) at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Film director Spike Lee attends the Bernie Sanders rally in Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
MANHATTAN, NY - APRIL 13: U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaigns at Washington Square Park in Manhattan, NY, on April 13, 2016. (Photo by Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at his campaign rally in Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at his campaign rally in Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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That compared to $29.3 million for Clinton in March, from 400,000 people.

Some 96 percent of Sanders' donors have given less in total than the $2,700 maximum, according to his campaign, meaning he can go back to them for more funds.

Some of Clinton's backers say they are nervous about her campaign's fundraising strategy of relying heavily on donors who are able to write big checks, and who max out more quickly.

"I think we're going to see her doing more small dollar fund raisers," said Lorraine Hariton, who has raised more than $100,000 for the campaign.

But the Clinton campaign's spending efficiency has helped it preserve a warchest. At the end of March, Clinton had $29 million left in the bank -- more than anyone else running for president. Sanders had just $17 million.

See Clinton on the campaign trail:

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Hillary Clinton rallies in Ohio
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Sanders raises more cash but Clinton makes campaign dollars go further
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Former President Bill Clinton greets attendees as he campaigns for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, at the Ohio Education Association, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Former President Bill Clinton, center left, has pictures taken with attendees as he campaigns for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at the Ohio Education Association in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Former Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael B. Coleman listens as former President Bill Clinton speaks while campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, at the Ohio Education Association, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Attendees take cell phone photos of President Bill Clinton as he campaigns for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, at the Ohio Education Association, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton reacts after being introduced before speaking during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Supporters watch as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
A man holds up an iPad to get a photo of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton shakes hands with supporters after speaking during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton steps to the podium to speak during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at Cuyahoga Community College Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
An attendee wears a sticker on her cheek while waiting to hear Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, speak during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, stands for a photograph with an attendee during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speak during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee wears a button in support of Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during a campaign event for Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, shakes hands with attendants while arriving to speak during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a gym full of supporters at Cuyahoga Community College during an election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - Supporters listen to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she speaks in a full gym at Cuyahoga Community College during an election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
An American flag is seen in the jacket pocket of an attendee during a campaign event for Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Clinton and Bernie Sanders made last bids for support in Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday, with both arguing they would be able to navigate the gridlock in Washington that's spawned anger among voters of both political parties. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - At Cuyahoga Community College, Clinton supporters wait at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - At Cuyahoga Community College, Clinton supporters pledge allegiance at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - At Cuyahoga Community College, Clinton supporters wait at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - Supporters listen to primary results just before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to a full gym at Cuyahoga Community College during an election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - Supporters listen to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she speaks in a full gym at Cuyahoga Community College during an election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - At Cuyahoga Community College, Clinton supporters pledge allegiance at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
An attendee waits for Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, scored an upset win over Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary, overcoming the double-digit lead she held in polls ahead of the vote and proving he can win in a diverse industrial state. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a gym full of supporters at Cuyahoga Community College during an election night rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday March, 8, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 8: Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Recreation Center on the campus of the Cuyahoga Community College, March 8, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the primary on March 15. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
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Preserving the war chest is crucial for Clinton's chance of winning the White House in the general election against a Republican, letting her campaign effectively in swing states, attack her opponent's vulnerabilities and defend her own.

Should she face off against Republican front-runner Donald Trump, she will need a bank account sufficient to compete with a candidate who has mastered the knack of earning free coverage.

Approaching the end of the primary campaign with a surplus is a far different scenario from the one in which Clinton found herself at the end of her failed 2008 bid for the nomination against Barack Obama, when she ended up $9.5 million in debt.

An example of the campaign's frugality: it cut advertising spending by $5 million to $12 million in March, a month heavy with primaries and caucuses, by using more digital advertising instead of television ads.

Clinton spent only $1.6 million on digital ads. The campaign also reduced real estate costs and limited increases in payroll as it staffed up.

"We set ambitious goals to ensure we'd have the resources we need to win a competitive primary and we've blown past every goal, recently surpassing the million-donor mark," spokesman Josh Schwerin said.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson, Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Clarence Fernandez)

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