Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig raised more than $ 1 million in one month for his insurgent presidential campaign, a haul that he is using to bolster his argument that he should be included in the Democratic debates.
Lessig collected 10,000 contributions from more than 8,000 individual donors, according to his campaign.
“Larry Lessig has a unique strength matched by no one else on the Democratic side,” senior adviser Steve Jarding said in a statement. “As a complete outsider who has never been elected to public office, he is the only candidate who doesn’t owe anyone favors. Voters are tired of shallow promises and cheap talk, and Larry is offering the truth about our broken political system.”
Lessig, whose calls for overhauling the campaign finance system have made him a popular figure on the left, is running on a platform focused on reducing the influence of big money on politics. He has said that he would only serve long enough to enact legislation that would make voting easier, end the gerrymandering of congressional districts and create a program to amplify the impact of small donors — and then would turn the White House over to his vice president.
Lessig announced in early September that he had met his $ 1 million goal and would officially jump in the race. It’s unclear how much money he has raised since then.
He raised an average of $ 20,000 a day between filing his exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission on Aug. 11 and the end of the quarter on Sept. 30, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. That’s a fraction of the fundraising last quarter by Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton ($ 308,000 a day on average) and Bernie Sanders ($ 286,000 a day on average).
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island senator and governor Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia senator Jim Webb have not yet reported their fundraising totals for the quarter, which are due Oct. 15.
Lessig and his supporters have been pressing the Democratic National Committee and CNN to let him into the first debate, which will be held Oct. 13 in Las Vegas. To be included, candidates must received an average of 1 percent in three network-recognized polls released between Aug. 1 and Oct. 10, according to the criteria announced by CNN.
So far, he is barely registering in the polls in which he has been included. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll last month showed Lessig with .47%, tied with Webb.
Lessig has complained that polling organizations are not offering him as a choice when surveying voters.
“Were I actually included on every poll, I would easily make the debates,” he wrote in Politico last week.
Scott Clement contributed to this report.