NORFOLK, Va. — Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $46.5 million in February, his presidential campaign said Sunday, a huge sum that could help sustain him in a lengthy battle for the nomination.

The senator from Vermont, who won nominating contests in Nevada and New Hampshire last month, has vaulted to the top of the field in recent national polls. But former vice president Joe Biden’s landslide win in South Carolina Saturday raises the potential that the race could continue for a considerable stretch. Sanders finished a distant second in South Carolina, a disappointing showing for a candidate on the rise.

The cash infusion came from 2.2 million individual donations, including more than 350,000 people who gave to the Sanders campaign for the first time, officials said. The campaign said it raised $4.5 million on Saturday alone.

When Barack Obama was running for office in 2008, he raised $55 million over the same time period.

For Sanders, who has built the most imposing online fundraising operation in the Democratic field this cycle, the sum marks a significant increase from the $25 million it collected in January. Since the start of his second run for president last February, his campaign has raised more than $167 million, his campaign said.

The Sanders campaign did not immediately say how much money it had in its account at the end of February. It announced that it was purchasing airtime for TV ads in nine states that vote on March 10 and March 17.

Sanders campaigned here Saturday night, conceding defeat to Biden in South Carolina during a rally.

“There are a lot of states out there, and tonight we did not win in South Carolina," said Sanders, prompting disappointed boos from the crowd here. “And that will not be the only defeat,” he cautioned. “Nobody wins them all.”

Virginia is one of 14 states voting on March 3, which is known as “Super Tuesday” because more than a third of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are up for grabs that day.

The Fix’s Amber Phillips previews the South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday and what to watch for as the 2020 Democratic presidential primary continues. (The Washington Post)

Sanders is campaigning in California on Sunday, a Super Tuesday state where voting already is underway.