State Sen. Vincent Fort has raised nearly $250,000 in the six weeks since he announced his Atlanta mayoral bid, thanks in part to support from Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Atlanta Democrat will report Tuesday that more than 6,300 donors contributed to his campaign, which netted more than $100,000 of those donations after Sanders endorsed Fort’s mayoral bid.
He is among a dozen or so candidates for mayor who face a deadline this week to report their campaign cash. But Fort’s fundraising is restricted during the legislative session; as a sitting state lawmaker, he can’t raise any campaign cash during the 40-day period.
Fort said the donations – which averaged at $37 a pop – show he is stoking a movement of people "who want a City Hall that focuses on regular folks and the neighborhoods they live in, not just big shots and megaprojects."
Sanders endorsed Fort days before the legislative session began, claiming in an email sent to his supporters that the "entrenched political establishment and their billionaire backers" wanted to do everything in their power to defeat the Atlanta Democrat.
Fort has made no secret that he’s trying to model his bid to succeed Mayor Kasim Reed on Sanders’ insurgent presidential campaign. He’s called for the decriminalization of marijuana, free tuition at Atlanta city colleges and other left-leaning initiatives. He also has the backing of some establishment Democrats including former Gov. Roy Barnes, who contributed the $4,000 maximum to Fort’s campaign.
Some of Fort’s rivals are poised to put up big numbers as the fundraising reports trickle in.
Reed helped arrange a fundraiser for Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, though the mayor said he was not formally endorsing her bid.
And other contenders have been pounding the pavement to show they are formidable candidates, including former chief operating officer Peter Aman; Councilman Kwanza Hall; Council President Ceasar Mitchell; Councilwoman Mary Norwood; Michael Sterling, former head of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency; and former council president Cathy Woolard.
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