Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign says it raised half a million dollars in the immediate aftermath of Thursday night’s Democratic nomination debate, with the Minnesota Democrat’s advisers telling Fox News the haul was the campaign’s best post-debate fundraising to date.
Meanwhile, the debate also paid off for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Sanders’ presidential campaign announced on Friday afternoon that the populist independent senator who’s making his second straight White House bid hauled in more than $1 million from tens of thousands of contributors on debate day. They added that it was their best debate-day fundraising to date.
Klobuchar, who has struggled to get attention in previous debates, earned praised from political pundits and analysts for her performance at the sixth round showdown, after attempting to cast herself as a unifying figure who stood above the bickering between some of the contenders.
“I did not come here to listen to this argument,” she emphasized as two top-tier rivals – South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – were trading shots. “I came here to make a case for progress.”
But Klobuchar was also assertive, and she aggressively took down fellow moderate Buttigieg with a quip about wine caves and telling the 37-year-old contender to respect the experience of his onstage rivals.
“Mayor, you basically mocked the hundred years of experience on the stage,” she said, harkening back to a comment Buttigieg made at a previous debate. “I just think you should respect our experience when you look at how you evaluate someone who can get things done.”
After a quick turnaround – Klobuchar said she got just three and a half hours of sleep – the candidate was riding the wave of momentum as she made numerous media appearances early Friday morning.
The senator was then off to Iowa to kick off a four-day campaign swing through the state that holds the first contest in the presidential caucus and primary nominating calendar. The middle-tier contender with hopes of cracking the top-tier has seen her poll numbers edge up in Iowa, which neighbors her home state.
Klobuchar said the infusion of campaign cash will help her raise her name ID and build up staff in the early voting states.
“We are doubling our staff in New Hampshire, adding people in Nevada as well as South Carolina. And I realize I am not as well-known as these other candidates,” she said in a CNN interview. “My big challenge is to make sure I get my name out there without having the big bank account of some of my opponents.”
Besides the fundraising haul, Klobuchar’s campaign had more good news: Following the Democratic National Committee’s announcement Friday on the qualifying criteria for January’s debate in Iowa, Klobuchar’s team announced that the senator had already reached the thresholds and would make the stage for the seventh round showdown.