Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Tout Small Donors; Here's The Math Presidential campaigns filed their first fundraising reports of the 2016 election. NPR examines what the filings reveal about the Democratic campaigns.
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Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Tout Small Donors; Here's The Math

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Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Tout Small Donors; Here's The Math

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Tout Small Donors; Here's The Math

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Tout Small Donors; Here's The Math

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/423605177/423821203" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Presidential campaigns filed their first fundraising reports of the 2016 election. NPR examines what the filings reveal about the Democratic campaigns.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: When it comes to the Democrats, there are only two candidates who have raised more than $10 million, and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are talking about their small donations. That's because those little checks and credit card payments of $5 here, $50 there, serve as a proxy for grassroots support and energy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: Get a quick picture with you.

KEITH: On a recent Sunday in Iowa, I watched as Sanders, the Vermont senator, shook hands and took pictures with supporters. And then this happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And here's a check for your pocket.

SANDERS: Oh, thank you very much - but you didn't have to.

KEITH: That's right - she slipped a folded personal check into Sanders's pocket as they posed for photo. I don't know how much it was for, but it's safe to assume it wasn't much. Seventy-six percent of his donations came from people giving $200 or less. Sanders raised just over $15 million total, putting him ahead of all but one Republican candidate. But when it comes to campaign cash, there's only one Hillary Clinton. She raised more than $47 million in the first months of her campaign, in large part thanks to a relentless fundraising schedule. Take June 29 - she attended three big-dollar fundraisers, including one at the home of New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BAD MEDICINE")

BON JOVI: (Singing) Her love is like bad medicine. Bad medicine's what I need.

KEITH: Clinton raised three quarters of a million dollars that day, but her campaign is trying to play up the sheer number of small donations that came in too, including merchandise purchases

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROBBY MOOK: Hats, buttons, magnets, cups - all proceeds support the important work of this campaign.

KEITH: That was campaign manager Robby Mook hawking merch at Clinton's campaign kickoff rally last month. Each hat and beer koozie counts as a campaign contribution. Though, when you add it all up, less than 20 percent of Clinton's campaign cash came in the form of small donations. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington.

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