O'Rourke & Sanders: Opposites chasing young voters

Supporters of US Senator Bernie Sanders pose with a snow man before a rally to kick off his 2020 US presidential campaign in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

The senator from Vermont, who showed surprising fundraising heft in his upstart challenge to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton four years ago, raised more than US$18 million ($26.5m) in the 41 days between his official campaign launch and March 31, giving him US$28m cash on hand.

Former congressman Beto O'Rourke has raised $9.4 million in 18 days, bringing in more money per day than his 2020 competitors, his campaign announced on Wednesday.

Bernie Sanders joins former Vice President Joe Biden atop many polls of prospective Democratic primary voters. Kamala Harris, U.S. senator from California and another popular candidate, said she has raised 12 million dollars. She earned donations from 218,000 individual contributions in the first quarter of 2019.

O'Rourke's campaign has averaged $522,000 a day, Sanders' has averaged $444,000 a day, Harris averaged $171,000 a day, and Buttigieg averaged $103,000 a day.

Sanders appeared in a Fox town hall during his 2016 primary campaign. The $7 million number is a big one for any presidential candidate to raise in one quarter, especially for a previously unknown mayor of a relatively small city who is still operating in the exploratory committee phase.

In her first quarter as a candidate ahead of 2016, Clinton topped US$45m.

"We're pleased that the DNC agrees with Fox News that successful Democratic presidential candidates must engage directly with FNC's large and diverse audience through televised town halls", Fox News senior vice president Bill Sammon said in his own statement.

Sanders touts that he's held zero traditional fundraisers and has an average donation of $20 - less than 1% of the $2800 maximum.

New CEO Brian Wancho told the Daily Caller that the 2020 campaign isn't using the company for social media or web services, adding that it was unlikely O'Rourke acted unethically by paying the company. Shakir reported that 88% of the total came from donations of $200 or less and that 99.5% of donations were for $100 or less. The average age of donors was under 39 years old, Shakir said.

"There have been no high-dollar fundraising events, there's no kowtowing at the altars of the rich ... that is not this campaign", said Faiz Shakir, Sanders' 2020 campaign manager.

With such a crowded field - more than 15 Democrats have announced they are running - fundraising abilities have become an early way to prove to donors and potential supporters that a candidate is viable.

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