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"I could not be more proud that our momentum and grassroots support is only growing heading into 2022," Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a progressive Democratic candidate for the key battleground state's open U.S. Senate seat, said on January 5, 2022. "I am truly thankful for the support we have across the commonwealth, and the energy we are seeing on the ground only confirms it." (Photo: John Fetterman/Facebook)

"I could not be more proud that our momentum and grassroots support is only growing heading into 2022," Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a progressive Democratic candidate for the key battleground state's open U.S. Senate seat, said on January 5, 2022. "I am truly thankful for the support we have across the commonwealth, and the energy we are seeing on the ground only confirms it." (Photo: John Fetterman/Facebook)

Pennsylvania's Fetterman Brings in Bernie-esque Grassroots Fundraising Haul for US Senate Run

"Quarter after quarter our impressive grassroots fundraising has made clear that John has unrivaled and deeply enthusiastic grassroots support across the commonwealth," said an adviser to the Fetterman campaign.

Kenny Stancil

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a progressive Democratic candidate for the key battleground state's open U.S. Senate seat, raised $2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2021—thanks to almost 100,000 donations averaging $27 each, his campaign announced Wednesday.

"John is a unique candidate who has deep, enthusiastic, and engaged support."

Like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during his 2016 and 2020 runs for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Fetterman is harnessing the power of thousands of ordinary working-class donors to challenge a corporate-backed neoliberal candidate. U.S. Rep Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) is expected to be Fetterman's biggest competition in May's Democratic primary.

In 2021, Fetterman raised nearly $12 million from more than 170,000 donors who gave a combined total of 424,000 times, his campaign said. Fetterman, the current Democratic frontrunner in the Senate race, ended the year with $5.3 million cash on hand. In the fourth quarter alone, he raised $2.7 million, receiving 98,000 donations—including contributions from more than 22,000 first-time donors. 

"I could not be more proud that our momentum and grassroots support is only growing heading into 2022," Fetterman said in a statement. "I am truly thankful for the support we have across the commonwealth, and the energy we are seeing on the ground only confirms it."

Fetterman is outraising other candidates by large margins. Long an outspoken advocate for economic, environmental, and social justice, the former 14-year mayor of Braddock—a Pittsburgh-area steel town hard-hit by deindustrialization—has received donations from over 87% of Pennsylvania zip codes and from every one of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, according to his campaign.

Fetterman said that he and his wife Gisele "are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support that we have received from every one of you. Thank you."

Fetterman's reliance on small-dollar donations could continue to give him a major fundraising advantage. According to the campaign, more than 99% of his donors have not maxed out their contributions, making them eligible to give again and again.

For all four quarters of 2021, the most common occupation of Fetterman's donors was "educator," as it was during Sanders' two recent campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Quarter after quarter our impressive grassroots fundraising has made clear that John has unrivaled and deeply enthusiastic grassroots support across the commonwealth," said Rebecca Katz, founder of New Deal Strategies and senior adviser to Fetterman for PA. "It is no secret that 2022 could be a difficult year for Democrats. John is a unique candidate who has deep, enthusiastic, and engaged support, the kind of support Democrats need in 2022 if they are going to turn this seat blue."

"What's more," Katz added, "our campaign is still bringing new people into the fold. In this quarter alone we had over 22,000 new donors join our team, because they believe in John and they know he can win."

Fetterman is the only candidate in the race who has won statewide in Pennsylvania. After defeating sitting Lt. Gov. Mike Stack in the 2018 Democratic primary, Fetterman joined Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's ticket for the general election and helped beat their Republican opponents by 17 percentage points.

Moreover, with Fetterman as his running mate, Wolf garnered almost one million more votes than he did in 2014. In addition, the pair was victorious in Beaver County, Berks County, Cumberland County, Erie County, and Luzerne County, all jurisdictions that Democrats have struggled to win in recent years.


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