Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke crushed fundraising records by raising $38.1 million in three months. According to Chris Wilson, a pollster for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), O’Rourke essentially cannibalized all that money, stealing it from other Democrats who could have won their closer midterm elections.
“He has nationalized his figure, he has taken stands that do a great job raising money from a national liberal base but all he’s done is just cannibalize money that would have gone to Heidi Heitkamp or Clair McCaskill or other Democrats that could’ve saved their seats that are probably now going to go down to defeat,” Wilson told MSNBC on Tuesday.
All the while, “O’Rourke is on a vanity mission that is just basically flushing money down the toilet.”
Wilson also appeared on Bloomberg with the same message. When asked about O’Rourke’s war chest, the pollster admitted, “He does have a lot of money, and I think all he’s done is cannibalize it from other Democrats who would have had a chance at winning if they were better funded, like a McCaskill or Heidi Heitkamp.”
Indeed, O’Rourke has consistently polled about 6 to 8 points behind Cruz (Cruz leads by 7 in the RealClearPolitics average). Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) has also polled 8.7 percent behind Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) stands nearly neck-and-neck with Attorney General Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). If McCaskill loses to Hawley, the fundraising shift in Beto O’Rourke’s direction might indeed have contributed to her defeat.
Some have argued that even if Beto O’Rourke loses — and loses badly — his campaign still matters because it gave hope to Democrats that Texas might become truly purple at some point. Tell that to Wendy Davis and Hillary Clinton.
As for Democrats struggling to make sure the vaunted “Blue Wave” doesn’t give way to Trump’s “Red Wave,” Beto O’Rourke’s campaign may prove more of a distraction, if not a disadvantage. Americans will be able to tell come November if the Texas Democrat really did cannibalize liberal donations. At this point, it seems quite plausible.
Watch Chris Wilson’s interviews below.
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