Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein hauled in $4.8 million to help finance recount efforts in three states, a figure that eclipsed the fundraising total for her entire presidential campaign.
Late Tuesday, Stein issued a press release calling on supporters to raise $2.5 million to fund a recount effort in three states that Donald Trump won - Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Stein’s campaign said that amount would be needed to meet Wisconsin’s Nov. 25 deadline and $1.1 million filing fee. But it was soon clear that goal would easily be met.
The campaign had raised $4.5 million goal by 11 p.m. on Thursday, according to The Huffington Post.
By Friday morning, the fundraising effort was nearing $5 million, a figure that exceeded the $3,509,477 reported on Stein’s final October 19 campaign finance report.
Stein has enough to cover the $1.1 million fee to file before the Friday afternoon deadline to file recount in Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, Stein must also show cause for a recount to take place.
Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Mark Morgan issued a statement Friday calling Stein's decision to seek a recount "absurd" and "nothing more than an expensive political stunt that undermines the election process."
In the days following the election, the doctor-turned- Green Party nominee was the target of disgruntled Democrats and liberals who believed her candidacy contributed to Clinton’s loss.
For example, Steve Benen wrote on MSNBC’s website that if voters had cast ballots in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania for Clinton rather than for Stein or Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, the former First Lady would have won.
“But it’s nevertheless true that in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, third-party voters had an enormous, [2000 Green Party candidate Ralph] Nader-like impact – had those states gone the other way, Clinton would be president-elect today, not Trump,” he claimed.
Criticism began turning to support for Stein as rumors and theories about hacked voting machines and a rigged election bubbled to the surface.
The initial fuel flaming the recount fire was set by blogger Greg Palast, who claimed in a November 11 post that the election was stolen by Trump.
Another theory that voting machines were hacked was soon trending on social media even before Stein announced the recount campaign, reported The Washington Post.