Washington, May 21: Bernie Sanders' campaign had less than USD6 million at the start of May, a critical cash shortage as he makes an admittedly tough final play to wrest the Democratic presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton.
Sanders' rival had five times as much money, according to new Federal Election Commission filings, beginning the month with USD30 million in the bank. The two were on roughly equal fundraising footing last month, with Clinton and Sanders each raising more than USD25 million.
But the Vermont senator spent almost USD39 million to Clinton's USD24 million, the reports showed. This year, Sanders has averaged more than USD40 million in spending per month, underlining how quickly he could blow through the cash he had on hand at the beginning of May.
Since he started his presidential bid, Sanders has spent nearly USD207 million, about USD25 million more than Clinton's USD182 million in expenditures. For her part, Clinton has averaged USD26 million in spending per month since January. Sanders' heavy campaign spending wasn't a problem when his online supporters were minting him money.
But now that his fundraising has dropped, his high burn rate could hurt his chance to continue competing. Even as he racked up primary victories last month and sharpened his attacks against the former secretary of state, online donors started holding back.
Sanders raised considerably less in April than his record-setting USD46 million in March or USD43.5 million in February. The Sanders campaign began taking steps late last month to downsize its operation. He reduced his payroll from about 1,000 to fewer than 400 employees.
Sanders has pledged to continue in the race until the final primary, June 14 in Washington. The latest reports showed that Sanders spent about USD21 million on media buys and digital consulting.
The campaign paid USD17.3 million to Old Towne Media Inc., based in Alexandria, Virginia, and more than USD3.6 million to Revolution Messaging, a Washington advertising firm that concentrates on digital outreach.
Sanders plans to spend a little more than USD525,000 on television and radio advertising in California ahead of its June 7 primary, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media's CMAG. Clinton has not reserved any airtime there. Clinton has tended to spend less on ads than Sanders. In April, her campaign spent about USD9.3 million on media buys and USD2.7 million more on online advertising, her report showed.