For a guy who hates the role money plays in politics, Bernie Sanders is certainly adept at collecting it.
Sanders raised whopping $5.2 million since trouncing Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire's Democratic primary, his campaign announced Wednesday. Aides say it's the most money he has raised in less than a day and comes as the Vermont senator races to build a campaign war chest to survive a lengthy nomination battle with Clinton.
Sanders, who routinely rails against the influence of billionaires in U.S. elections, used his victory rally Tuesday night in Concord, N.H., to make a fundraising pitch, telling the crowd: "I'm going to hold a fundraiser, right here, right now, across America." The average donation since that speech: $34, campaign officials said.
Sanders' skill at raising campaign money from hordes of small donors is challenging the fundraising machine backing Clinton, who has spent decades in public life and has cultivated close relationships with the party's top donors and fundraisers.
He outraised Clinton in January, the first time Sanders has surpassed the former secretary of State in the money race.
Sanders has made overhauling the campaign-finance system a cornerstone of his populist campaign for the presidency, and some liberal election watchdogs say the New Hampshire results show that message matters to voters. Republican Donald Trump, who regularly lambastes his rivals for relying on special-interest money, also won big Tuesday night. (For her part, Clinton also has outlined plans to curb the influence of deep-pocketed outside groups in U.S. elections.)
"Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump won their victories largely by asserting their independence from the power structures and the big dollar donors that dominate their respective parties," Miles Rapoport, president of Common Cause, said in a statement. He said campaign finance could be a "defining issue" of the election.