Election 2020

Cruz Opponent for Texas Senate Seat Pulls in Record-Setting Fundraising

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) walks up the House steps at the Capitol on March 8, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

The Democratic congressman trying to take Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) job in November reported an avalanche of donations in the first quarter of the year, topping all other Senate candidates in Texas history for a single-quarter haul excluding self-funders.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) disappointed some in his party with his 62 percent primary win last month, suggesting that the El Paso congressman needed to do more to build his name recognition to have a chance against a formidable incumbent.

O’Rourke today reported pulling in more than $6.7 million in the first fundraising quarter of the year. Even before this report, in which he tripled his previous quarters, O’Rourke had been outraising Cruz three out of the four past quarters.

“No PACs, no special interests. Just people. More than 141,000 grassroots contributions. Grateful to all of you,” he tweeted. The campaign said 70 percent of the donations came from Texas residents.

The congressman has been campaigning heavily on the ground, with a six-day, 12-city town hall tour across the state this week.

Cruz has not yet released his first-quarter fundraising; O’Rourke announced his haul two weeks ahead of the filing deadline. Ahead of the primary election, Cruz’s campaign reported raising $716,951 in the first 44 days of the year. In that same period, O’Rourke raised $2.2 million.

During the 2012 Senate campaign versus former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Cruz raised $15 million over the length of the race.

Cruz formally began his re-election campaign Monday by hitting the road on a three-day, 12-city tour. His new campaign slogan is “Tough as Texas.”

The GOP senator told the Texas Tribune that O’Rouke’s haul is “a whole lotta money — there’s no doubt about that.”

“And it has been clear for some time that the hard left is energized and they’re mobilized and they’re angry at the president,” Cruz said. “And we are seeing all across the country, the far left giving millions of dollars to liberal Democrats running for office, and it underscores that Republicans cannot take November for granted.”