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Analysis: How small donors and powerful allies helped Cori Bush win the election

So how do you win a campaign when you have less money than your opponent? 5 On Your Side spoke to a political analyst

ST. LOUIS — From homeless...to congress.

Money has played an interesting role in Cori Bush's historic win.

For one thing, she had less money in her campaign account than Congressman Lacy Clay.

"I never thought she'd win this by the margin that she did," said political analyst Dave Robertson.

According to public campaign finance documents, Bush raised about $174,000 less for her campaign than congressman Lacy Clay. Clay raised $743,124 and Bush raised $569,052.

So how do you win a campaign when you have less money than your opponent?

"It happens more than you might think. The key is to have enough money to get your message out," Robertson said.

Robertson says Bush was able to pull in support from all around the country because of some powerful allies, including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"She had support of the more progressive wing of the democratic party. She still had support of the Sanders organization and that helped bring donors to provide the money that gave Cori Bush the ability to get her message out," he said.

While some of Clay's biggest donors include AT&T and SEIU, Bush's biggest donors were simply individuals.

"Those kinds of donors who might be relatively well off in some cases, California progressives for example, certainly could provide the kind of meaty contributions that helped bulk up the campaign war chest Bush had," Robertson said.

That helped Bush get her message out.

She also got an advertising boost of $240,000 paid for by two political action committees: 'fight corporate monopolies' and 'justice democrats'.

"They were effective ads, that went right to the point. They were generally positive about Cori Bush and I think they were persuasive to a lot of voters and I think they got younger voters interested and coming out to the polls," Robertson said.

With campaign finance reform as a pillar of Bush's platform, the I-Team asked Robertson how realistic it will be for Bush to keep her promise-- refusing all corporate lobby money and corporate PAC money.

"Going forward it's going to be a challenging commitment to keep," said Robertson. 

Robertson says Bush's victory means established democrats around the country will face more youthful opposition in the future who are eager to bring a renewed focus to issues like climate change.