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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, shakes hands with a supporter in downtown Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016, during the final day of the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Bernie Sanders is using his coveted donor list to fundraise for Senate Democrats


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may not have a presidential campaign anymore, but he does have something very valuable left over: his list of nearly 7 million individual campaign contributors.

Now, he's using that list to ask previous donors to his campaign to give their money to four Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, in the hopes of taking back the majority from Republicans this November.

"For the future of our country, and our progressive agenda, it is imperative that Democrats regain control of the Senate," Sanders said in a Monday email to supporters.

Bernie's donor list invaluable to Clinton, Dems

The fact that Sanders is using his email list of donors and supporter to raise money for other candidates is no small deal.

Over the course of his campaign, Sanders amassed more unique contributions than President Obama received during the entire 2008 race. Combined with the fact that many of Sanders' contributors were young and independent, that makes the list extremely valuable for other campaigns when it comes to targeting likely donors. 

Keeping his coveted donor list close 

But while Sanders has agreed to use his list to raise money for Senate candidates he has endorsed, he is not actually giving that list to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a source close to Sanders told Circa on Monday.

Sanders has also declined to give his email list over to the Clinton campaign for fundraising purposes.

Sanders endorsed Clinton in July.

Why not give over the list?

One reason Sanders may not be actually giving over his email list to Clinton or Senate Democrats -- his donors might not want him to.

"I don't believe information should be given out unless people want it to be given out," Karen Higgins, a co-president of National Nurses United, told Marketplace last month. National Nurses United endorsed Sanders early in the Democratic primary.

Unless you're willing to call everybody on that donor list and ask them ... I personally don't think you have the right to give it away.
Karen Higgins, speaking to Marketplace
Sue Kirby poses for a picture with a larger-than-life Bernie Sanders, papier-mache head in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016, during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. Kirby, 65, built the doll about a year ago for Sanders rallies near home in Salem, Mass. She learned from a lifetime of activism that having a prop is a good way to get public (and media) attention. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Sanders still helping

Even without giving over his donor list, Sanders is still giving a huge fundraising opportunity to the four Democratic Senate candidates he's endorsed by asking his supporters to donate.

Who are those candidates?

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, current New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, Former Bill Clinton adviser Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, and Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

Sanders still supporting progressives

In his email to supporters, Sanders said he wasn't just supporting these candidates because they're Democrats, but because they have histories of supporting progressive causes.

McGinty, he noted, "was one of the first candidates to endorse a $15 minimum wage."

Hassan, Sanders said, "is a strong supporter of campaign finance reform, while Strickland "opposes the TPP and believes that we need to completely change the way we negotiate trade deals."

If these four Democrats win the tight elections they are currently in, the Democrats will almost certainly take control of the Senate.
Bernie Sanders

Sanders also said Cortez Masto "is committed to protecting the environment and knows it's long past time that we ensure equal pay for women." 

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