When U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced his latest fundraising haul earlier this month – a stunning $6.7 million – it was widely expected to surpass what his rival, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, brought in over the same period. Now it’s clear by how much: roughly $3.5 million.
Cruz raised $3.2 million in the first three months of this year, according to his campaign. He also will report having $8.2 million on hand.
O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, did not outpace just Cruz – he posted one of the top quarterly federal fundraisers ever, outside of presidential campaigns. Along with the sheer size of his fundraising, O’Rourke’s campaign has also drawn attention for eschewing support from political action committees.
O’Rourke announced his fundraising numbers earlier this month. Outside of O'Rourke's large sum, Cruz's fundraising would be considered robust for any incumbent seeking re-election.
Since his plans to vacate his U.S. House seat in a bid to unseat Cruz a year ago, O’Rourke has frequently outpaced Cruz on the hard-dollar fundraising front. But Cruz also has a network of aligned groups that will spend on his behalf in the race. He is also expected to have massive super PAC support in the fall while O’Rourke has publicly asked super PACs to not help him in the race.
Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. But O’Rourke’s campaign has excited Democrats around the country, in part due to his ability to draw large crowds around Texas, including in some conservative strongholds.
Yet the enthusiasm behind O’Rourke’s bid remains perplexing to some national political observers. While repeatedly outraising an incumbent helps a challenger signal that their campaign in viable, most political insiders say privately if not publicly that Cruz remains in a strong position to win re-election.