Beto O’Rourke raised $6.1 million for his presidential campaign in his first 24 hours as a candidate, beating every other 2020 Democrat who has disclosed first-day figures, according to his campaign.
The haul surpasses that of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who raised $5.9 million in the 24 hours after his campaign launch.
O’Rourke’s campaign said the $6.1 million came from online contributions. He also said that he didn’t take any political action committee money — just like during his U.S. Senate campaign last year — and that he received contributions from every state and territory in the nation.
"In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us for all of us that answers not to the PACs, corporations and special interests but to the people," O'Rourke said in a statement.
O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, is the second Texan in the crowded Democratic primary to take on President Donald Trump. He joins Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and U.S. housing secretary.
Candidates are not required to disclose their one-day hauls. Still, O'Rourke's $6.1 million is an eye-popping number — especially when compared to the other Democrats who have already announced their first-day figures. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours as a candidate. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, meanwhile, raised $1 million within the first 48 hours of her campaign.
Expectations for O'Rourke's one-day figures were high, especially after he shattered Senate campaign fundraising records and raised a total of $80 million last year in his race to unseat Ted Cruz. O'Rourke's decision to not immediately release the 24-hour fundraising number last week had raised questions about whether he had had a successful haul. During a three-day Iowa trip, he repeatedly declined to share the figure with reporters, at one point acknowledging he was choosing not to.
O’Rourke’s campaign did not release how many donors made up the $6.1 million or what the average contribution size was. Sanders’ campaign said over 225,000 individuals made up its haul, with an average donation size of $27.
In a fundraising email, Sanders’ campaign sought to claim some victory despite being outraised — needling O’Rourke in the process.
“Here is the truth: this morning, Beto O'Rourke announced that he raised more money than us on the first day of his presidential campaign,” the email said. “The good news is, we more than likely had a lot more individual donations than he did.”
O'Rourke formally entered the presidential race Thursday morning. In the video announcing his candidacy, O’Rourke said he will travel the country before returning to El Paso on March 30 for a kickoff rally.
Patrick Svitek contributed to this report. It was originally published in The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.