Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) revealed on Friday that his campaign raised $4.5 million during the third quarter of 2019, surpassing his haul for the previous quarter, but falling far short of his Democratic primary challengers.
O’Rourke updated his staff and supporters during a live-streamed meeting on the state of his campaign and emphasized the urgent need for a “breakthrough.” He also appeared optimistic about the “wonderful trajectory” of the campaign and its fundraising, and further noted that Nevada and Super Tuesday states like California and his home state of Texas will ultimately play in his favor.
“We have a path to the nomination — and through that, a path to the presidency — but at this moment we’ve got to break through,” O’Rourke said. “So, I need everyone’s help, doing everything that they can … to make sure that you make this commitment now.”
“There is no later moment to do it,” he continued. “It must happen now if we’re going to make the most of this moment, of the momentum that we have, of this wonderful trajectory that we’re on.”
The $4.5 million that O’Rourke raised is up nearly $1 million from the $3.6 million that he took in during the second quarter of 2019. His campaign added that it had posted its best month in September and that the former Texas congressman also took two weeks off from his campaign in August following the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The campaign haul, however, is especially anemic considering the record-breaking fundraising that O’Rourke generated during his failed run to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). At the time, O’Rourke received more campaign contributions in one quarter than any Senate candidate in American history. In the third quarter of 2018, the El Paso congressman raised $38.1 million. Comparatively, Cruz raised $12.4 million, which placed the incumbent lawmaker as the third highest fundraiser of the 2018 candidates for Senate.
While the Federal Election Commission (FEC) does not require candidates to file third quarter declarations until October 15, O’Rourke is one of the last presidential hopefuls to reveal his fundraising numbers. His total haul lags significantly behind the Democratic frontrunners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who raised $15.2 million, $25.3 million, and $24.6 million, respectively.
The Beto for America campaign emailed supporters on Saturday and asked for donations in order to reach an ambitious goal of $2 million over the next six weeks.
“If we’re going to take this campaign to the next level and move up in the standings, we are going to need your help right now,” the statement read. “I often say this is a critical moment for the country, and now it’s a critical moment for the campaign too.”
“We believe we have the right message,” the email continued. “But we need a monumental amount of money this month to make sure we get on that debate stage in November, reach out to folks who don’t know us yet, pay for our ads, grow our organizing team, and all the other ingredients we need to get right so we can win this thing.”
O’Rourke, however, has also been struggling to gain traction in the polls. He has not broken 5% support since April and currently is receiving less than 2% on average, according to Real Clear Politics.