Sanders raises impressive $34.5M in 2019's final quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders says he raised more than $34.5 million in the final three months of last year, showing that a recent heart attack hasn't slowed the Vermont senator's fundraising prowess with the start of the Democratic presidential primaries looming.

Sanders' campaign said Thursday that the haul came from more than 1.8 million donations, including from 40,000 new donors on the final day of the year alone. Sanders' total exceeds the $24.7 million that Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced a day earlier that he'd raised during the fourth quarter of last year.

Strong totals from a nationally known candidate and one virtually unknown when he jumped into the race suggest that their party's primary could feature a protracted fight among well-funded rivals. The lead-off Iowa caucuses are Feb. 3, and Sanders and Buttigieg are considered among the front-runners in a crowded and unsettled field, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

18 PHOTOS
Celebrities who donated to Bernie Sanders
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Celebrities who donated to Bernie Sanders

Miley Cyrus

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Danny DeVito 

(Photo by Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images for RBC)

Danny Glover

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

John Mulaney

(Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Matt Dillon

(Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images )

Emily Ratajkowski 

(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Shailene Woodley 

(Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for HUGO BOSS)

Cardi B

(Photo by Arik McArthur/WireImage)

Mark Ruffalo 

Susan Sarandon

(Photo by Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic)

Justin Long

(Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Labyrinth Theater Company)

Rob Delaney

Vic Mensa 

(Photo by Yuchen Liao/Getty Images)

Jason Mraz

(Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Rapper Lil Yachty

(Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)

Norah Jones

(Photo by Roberta Parkin/Getty Images)

Brandi Carlile 

(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Dave Bautista
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Like Sanders, Warren has relied heavily on small donations coming primarily online. Her campaign raised $24.6 million in the third quarter but said in a recent fundraising email that it had collected around only $17 million with a few days to go — hoping to persuade supporters to open their wallets and improve the final totals.

Sanders' 2020 bid has now raised more than $96 million built on 5 million-plus individual donations worth an average of about $18. Sanders' campaign says that more than 99% of his donors have not reached federal donation limits, meaning they can contribute again. That total does not include $12.7 million Sanders transferred from other campaign accounts as part of his presidential run.

“Bernie Sanders is closing the year with the most donations of any candidate in history at this point in a presidential campaign,” his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement.

Sanders' polling and fundraising have remained strong since he suffered a heart attack while campaigning in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. The 78-year-old this week released three letters from doctors saying that he had suffered “modest heart muscle damage" but has since recovered well and is fit enough for the rigors of the presidential campaign and the White House should he win.

Sanders' campaign said its best fundraising month came in December, when it took in more than $18 million from 900,000-plus donations. It said that the most common occupation listed by its donors was teacher and that the five most common employers were Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, the U.S. Postal Service and Target.

11 PHOTOS
Bernie Sanders and wife, Jane
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Bernie Sanders and wife, Jane
Former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders hugs his wife Jane after making a motion to suspend the rules and nominate Hillary Clinton as the Demcoratic presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gets a kiss from his wife Jane as he addresses supporters following the closing of the polls in the California presidential primary in Santa Monica, California, U.S., June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane wave to the audience during a rally in Vallejo, California, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
PORTSMOUTH, NH - With Jane Sanders, Democratic Presumptive Nominee for President former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a rally with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at Portsmouth High School Gymnasium in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Jane O'Meara Sanders walks on the floor during the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders kisses his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, at a rally in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (C) hugs his wife Jane Sanders (L) while actress Susan Sarandon surveys the overflow room at a campaign rally in Fairfield, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' wife Jane (R) waves to the crowd as Sanders acknowledges her and his step daughters Carina (L) and Heather (C) as Sanders addresses his final campaign rally before the Iowa Caucus at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Jane Sanders, wife of Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, listens during an interview following a campaign event in Fort Madison, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. In advance of Monday's Iowa caucuses, the first electoral contest of the presidential primaries, Jane Sanders has ventured out often on her own, sometimes with multiple events the same day. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, walks with his wife Jane Sanders ahead of the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. With Vice President Joe Biden officially out of the presidential race, the nation's first nominating contest between front-runner Hillary Clinton and Sanders is gaining steam, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: With his wife Jane O'Meara, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) prepares to speak at a Florence Town Hall Meeting in an arena in Florence, South Carolina on Saturday September 12, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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In an email to supporters on Thursday, Sanders said there will be more where that came from.

“Against Trump, I believe we will have 50 million individual contributions, at least. And at $27 a piece, that would be more than $1 billion,” Sanders wrote. “It’s absolutely obscene and outrageous that an election would cost that much money, but our campaign has proven we will be able to raise more than enough money to win.”

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