Hillary Clinton raised over $45 million in primary money, aide says

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign raised over $45 million in primary money during their first quarter of their 2016 bid, a Clinton official with knowledge of the fundraising operation told CNN on Wednesday.

Clinton and her team have focused intently on raising money for the last month, criss-crossing the country at a frenetic pace. Clinton personally headlined 58 fundraisers in 18 states in the three-month quarter, a sizable number for a frontrunner.

“The numbers are not yet final but Hillary for America has exceeded our expectations and is on track to raise more primary money than any candidate in history during their first quarter in the race,” the official said Wednesday. “The previous record of primary money raised in a candidate’s first quarter was $41.9 million set by President Obama’s campaign in 2011.”

Shortly after the number was released, Clinton tweeted an image of a handwritten thank you note to her supporters.

“Thank you so much for being part of this campaign. I’m grateful for all you’ve done and excited for what comes next. When the road ahead is tough, you need the best people by your side. That’s why I’m thankful for you.”

Clinton’s fundraisers have been star-studded affairs, of late. She headlined a fundraiser where Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett performed in June and earlier this week attended an event where Jon Bon Jovi was the the entertainment.

Clinton’s 2015 haul also shattered the $26 million the former first lady raised raised in the first quarter of her failed 2008 bid.

The aide added that 91% of Clinton’s donations were $100 or less, but would not disclose the total number of donations or donors.

The number could be a sore spot for Clinton.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s closest 2016 opponent, told CNN on Tuesday that his campaign had received around 200,000 donations, a staggering number and sign of what the Sanders’ campaign is calling their grassroots funded campaign.

Clinton’s campaign, by comparison, set a goal of 50,000 donations and in emails to supporters on Tuesday — the last day of the fundraising quarter — Clinton said they were 4,000 under their goal.

Clinton’s campaign plans to release their full FEC report in the coming weeks. The deadline is July 15.

Clinton’s top aides have long said they hope to raise $100 million by the end of the year. Given this pace, the campaign will likely easily surpass that goal.

Fundraising totals are both practically and symbolically important. Money is the lifeblood of any presidential campaign, but campaigns quarterly fundraising hauls are regularly used to show signs of strength and weakness.

By Dan Merica