It’s Super Tuesday. The Democratic 2016 Presidential campaign is in full swing with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battling it out in the national arena with 12 states up for grabs today. Yet while all this hoopla is going on, a small fact remains quietly perched on the political back burner: Sanders is also running for re-election as a U.S. Senator. His Senate seat will be decided anew with the 2018 midterm cycle, and if Vermonters vote favorably, he’ll take office at the age of 77 for his third term.
Interestingly, Sanders is running as an Independent. Even more curious, his donors are unlike those behind his Presidential bid.
Sanders is already collecting money for his next Senate run. A look at these contributors reveals a stark contrast from the grassroots coalition he appeals to in his Presidential campaign. Far from being a collection of Milleniels who are newly entering the job market or struggling blue collar workers, these donors are primarily retired or entrenched in professional positions.
This detailed profile of the Friends of Bernie Sanders PAC shows that the bulk of his Senate campaign backers reside not in Vermont but California. His home state came in second place as far as contributor counts but New York, Texas and Massachusetts round out the top five states.
A look at the Top 150 Contributors shows a large percentage listing themselves as “Retired” (49 of 150) and another large chunk (47 of 150) self-describe as a professional (engineer, professor, doctor, attorney, business owner/consultant/CEO)
Midterm elections are far away from the hubbub of the 2016 primaries but the money work goes on. Friends of Bernie raised $1,196,682 at the close of 2015. With three years remaining, it will need to work harder to reach the $6.2 million raised in his last Senate race. This figure was a high water mark itself according to InsideGov.com, which noted it was “greater than the average of all Senate campaign committees.”
Bernie Sanders earns applause for his fundraising efforts and his ability to find donors from nearly every demographic. Yet supporters must wonder: as an elected representative, to whom does he show allegiance?