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Sanders sees surprisingly strong start

Will Bernie Sanders' initial fundraising scare Hillary Clinton? Probably not. Does it suggest he's off to a surprisingly good start>? Yes it does.
As easy as it may be to see Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign as a quixotic exercise, launched by a candidate who doesn't really expect to hold national office, Alex Seitz-Wald reported on the Vermont independent's strong start as a White House hopeful.

Sen. Bernie Sanders raised more than $1.5 million in the 24-hours since he announced his presidential run, his campaign announced Friday. It's a strong performance for a candidate many pundits have dismissed as fringe, outpacing Republican candidates who have recently announced.

In a statement, Tad Devine, a Sanders adviser who worked as a top aide to Al Gore and John Kerry, described the $1.5 million first-day haul as "a remarkable start for Bernie's campaign."
While one certainly expects a candidate's aides to say things like this about their own campaign, Devine's boast is rooted in fact. Indeed, there are two striking details about Sanders' early fundraising success.
The first is the number of donors. The senator talked to Greg Sargent on Friday, and Sanders explained, "We have received 35,000 donations. You know what the average donation was? $43. We raised a million and a half dollars in 24 hours with an average donation of $43."
Raising lots of money from a handful of billionaire benefactors is one thing; collecting 35,000 contributions in one day is evidence of a different kind of support base.
The second is how impressive the first-day haul is as compared to most of the other announced candidates. As the msnbc report noted, "Sen. Marco Rubio raised $1.25 million in the day after announcing his campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz raised $1 million, while Sen. Rand Paul raised about $750,000."
Or in chart form:
It's worth noting that there's some question about Rand Paul's exact tally -- he'd raised about $750,000 by the evening of his first day as a candidate, but his overhaul receipts may have been closer to $1 million by the time the clock struck midnight. Either way, however, the Kentucky Republican, like his GOP brethren, fell short of Sanders' first day.
And what about Hillary Clinton? We simply don't know. Each of the other announced candidates volunteered information on their initial fundraising, but the Democratic frontrunner did not.
Of course, it's too soon to say whether Sanders simply capitalized on the excitement surrounding his first day as a presidential candidate. In order to be competitive over the long haul against a powerful rival, the senator will have to raise tens of millions of dollars, which will require more than just an initial burst of interest.
Complicating matters a bit, Sanders also told Greg Sargent that there will be no allied super PAC, which will make this approach to campaign financing that much more difficult.
Still, Sanders hopes to prove that he can be a competitive national candidate by doing things his way. His first day of fundraising probably won't cause too much consternation within Team Clinton, but it does suggest he's off to a good start.
Postscript: Sanders currently has about 7% support in the presidential primaries. That gives him more Democratic backing than most Republican candidates in the GOP field, nearly all of whom generate far more attention.