WASHINGTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised more than $24 million over the last three months as he wages a populist challenge to become the Democratic presidential nominee, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Sanders' advisers, in announcing the fund-raising tally on Wednesday night with several hours to go before the end of the third quarter, also said the senator had more than $25 million in cash on hand, the Times said.
Since launching his campaign on April 30, Sanders has focused on building robust grassroots organizing networks in the states that hold the first nominating contests ahead of the general election in November 2016.
Some recent polls have shown Sanders leading front-runner Hillary Clinton in the crucial early-voting states of New Hampshire and Iowa, where he has spent much of his campaign.
Sanders is popular within the Democratic Party's liberal wing for his calls to break up big banks, raise the federal minimum wage and expand paid work leave.
Sanders has pushed to get "big money" out of politics. As part of that pledge, he has said he will not have a Super PAC raise money on his behalf, likely putting him at a fund-raising disadvantage.
Presidential candidates must report fund-raising figures for the third quarter ending on Wednesday to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15. The tallies are viewed as an indicator of a candidate's appeal and staying power in the race.
The Sanders campaign reported raising about $15 million in the previous quarter but he did not launch his campaign until April 30, a month into the second quarter. (Reporting by Eric Beech and Amanda Becker; Editing by Peter Cooney)