Trailing Bernie: Sanders boasts 2 million contributions, major labor endorsement

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Sen. Bernie Sanders has made presidential campaign history — notching more than 2 million contributions for his campaign.

The campaign reported Thursday that more than $3 million was raised since launching a final online push Monday to reach the 2 million mark. More than half — about $1.6 million — was raised Wednesday into Thursday.

“What our vision of a political revolution has already accomplished is to show that we can run a strong, and we believe winning, campaign without a super PAC, without contributions from millionaires and billionaires,” Sanders said in a statement. “We are enormously proud that we have received more individual contributions at this point in the campaign than any candidate who is not an incumbent president. As the campaign continues to succeed, we expect those numbers to grow exponentially.”

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign received 2.2 million contributions by the end of 2011. Sanders’ campaign said it remains possible the senator could top that mark. When Obama was a senator and running for the presidency in 2008, he did not reach 1 million contributions until the 2008 Iowa caucus. Sanders has doubled that pace.

The average donation to Sanders this week has been about $20. Many donors were making their second or third contribution. Only 261 donors have given the maximum amount of $2,700, the campaign reported.

Sanders’ primary rival Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, has had 17,575 donors reach the maximum amount, according to the Sanders campaign. Maxed out donors amount to about 62 percent of Clinton’s contributions, compared to just 1.7 percent for Sanders.

Sanders’ campaign launched a new 15-second ad to highlight his 2 million contributions.

“Over 2 million contributions have been made to the only campaign that rejects a corrupt campaign finance system,” Sanders says in the television and Internet advertisement. “You can’t level the playing field with Wall Street banks and billionaires by taking their money.”

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Sanders also received the backing Thursday of the Communications Workers of America — his largest labor endorsement so far in his quest for the nomination.

CWA represents about 700,000 people who work in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields.

Most appealing to the campaign are the more than 300,000 active and retired members in states with early primaries, including California, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Ohio. Thursday’s endorsement follows an online vote by the union over more than a month.

“Brothers and sisters, let me thank the 700,000 members of the Communications Workers of America for their strong support,” Sanders said Thursday. “For decades you’ve been fighting for the rights of working families and I’m so proud today to be with you in that fight.”

CWA President Chris Shelton said the union is “ready to do what it takes to elect Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States.”

“CWA members endorsed Bernie Sanders because he is the candidate who is talking about real solutions to make our economy fair again. Politics as usual has gotten working people nowhere. It’s time for real change. That’s what CWA members are saying, loud and clear,” CWA President Chris Shelton said.

Sanders’ campaign said CWA members have “played a significant role in driving turnout in past elections.” Tens of thousands of union members volunteered to work on national and state campaigns and for ballot initiatives in 2012. The efforts included ground operations in 38 states.

The union did not weigh in with an endorsement when Clinton faced Obama in the 2008 primary.

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