WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she's raised about $6 million from online donors since last week's first-in-the-nation caucuses, fueled by people who want to see her stay in the 2020 race despite underwhelming performances in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The Massachusetts senator told The Associated Press on Thursday that she had spoken to Senate colleagues about the primary and that "right now, it's wide open."
"There's a lot of froth. It's going to be a long process," Warren said during an interview in the hallways of the Senate.
Hours later, during a raucous evening rally at a high school gym in Washington's Virginia suburbs, Warren didn't seem like a candidate worried about leaving the race. The state is one of more than a dozen voting on "Super Tuesday" on March 3.
Warren finished third in Iowa, behind the race's other strong progressive voice, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. But she was fourth in New Hampshire's Tuesday primary, trailing those two and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The results were especially disappointing because Warren had built an impressive campaign infrastructure in Iowa, and New Hampshire borders her home state. Her campaign says she's in the race for the long haul, noting that it has staffers in about 30 states. But the results so far have left some wondering about Warren's fundraising, which relies heavily on small donors giving online around the country — and could evaporate if supporters see her as having little chance to win.
Warren herself provided an answer Thursday, saying, "I've gotten nearly $6 million online since Iowa because a lot of people out there are very committed to seeing me stay in this race."
That pales in comparison to Sanders, who reported raising more than $25 million in January alone, but is still respectable. Klobuchar said she raised more than $6 million in the days after last week's debate in New Hampshire, while Buttigieg reported collecting $4 million in four days following the Iowa caucuses. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who finished worse than Warren in Iowa and New Hampshire, raised $4.5 million since the start of the month.
"There are a lot of different ways to interrupt where those votes are," Warren said when asked if Sanders has been more successful in winning over the Democratic Party's progressive wing. "I'll leave it to the pundits."
Asked if anyone suggested she drop out and support Sanders, she said, "Nope," but declined to say whether she would endorse the Vermont senator should she leave the race. A top Sanders aide also said Thursday that the pair hadn't spoken about the race.
In Virginia on Thursday, Warren's campaign said the crowd featured more than 4,000 people, many of whom were funneled into overflow rooms. Attendees were fired up and so was Warren. She hit her standard themes of creating "structural change" to remake America's political and economic system but did so with a harder edge than usual, saying, "Rich people don't want to pay taxes" and "If you don't attack the corruption head-on, you can't do anything else," both drawing wild applause.
It was a stark contrast from the last time she addressed supporters, shortly after the New Hampshire polls closed Tuesday night. That's when she earnestly called Sanders and Buttigieg "great people," but insisted she could best unite Democrats.
Looking to rebound, Warren's campaign has increased the number of national television appearances she's done in recent weeks, trying to contrast the perception that a New Hampshire loss raises questions about where Warren might actually win.
Warren, who once earned a debate scholarship to college, is also focusing on improving her standing during a debate next week in Nevada. That comes after a strong New Hampshire debate performance gave Klobuchar a bounce heading into the primary. Those close to Warren also see an opportunity for her to pick up former supporters of Biden if he continues to struggle.
"The most important thing is to enter Super Tuesday with momentum," said Adam Green, head of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "That can happen through one or multiple stellar debate performances, especially as Joe Biden loses supporters and they look for something new."
In Virginia, Warren may have previewed what was to come, slamming Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who is competing hard in Super Tuesday states, over his 2008 comments that ending redlining, a discriminatory housing practice, helped trigger the financial crisis.
"That crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been even bigger racists, and anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party," she said, drawing huge cheers and boos for Bloomberg.
Warren said the crowd was so large that she couldn't stay to take her trademark "selfie" photos, but she vowed that if she wins Virginia on March 3, she'd come back and do the photos then.
"We've now had three years of Donald Trump," she said to boos. "It's beyond boo. It's that there are a lot of people who are afraid."
"The danger is real. Our democracy hangs in the balance," Warren said. "Do you fight back? Me, I fight back. Fighting back is an act of patriotism."
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