Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke says he’s raked in more than $6 million in just a few short weeks, after winning the Texas Democratic primary and the chance to unseat Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
In the first quarter of 2018, O’Rourke netted $6.7 million, easily three times the amount he raised in the quarters before, where his takes ranged from $1.7 million to $2.4 million, according to the Texas Tribune. Most of the new money has, of course, come from outside Texas, from national “Resistance” groups who have made Ted Cruz their top target in the 2018 midterm elections.
Cruz, meanwhile, has not released any fundraising numbers since February, but is believed to have nearly $7 million cash on hand.
O’Rourke used the eye-popping number to challenge Cruz’s attachment to “big money donors,” claiming that his $6.7 million came mostly from 141,000 “small money” and “grassroots” donors. But O’Rourke’s FEC filings tell a slightly different story. Although some of his money has come from individual donors, he’s received significant financial assistance from D.C. lobbyists, Google’s parent company Alphabet, Time Warner, and several major law firms and health care corporations.
And although the money will help O’Rourke close the gap on Cruz in terms of cash on hand, as other Democrats have discovered, it’s intensely difficult to win a statewide election, particularly when much of your funding comes from out of state. Although there are a growing number of Texas suburbs leaning blue — something Wendy Davis was counting on years ago when she went up against now-governor Gregg Abbot — they are still heavily outpaced by Republican areas.
O’Rourke also favors stricter gun control laws, and more permissive laws on abortion — two issues where even Democratic-leaning Texans side with Republicans.
Regardless, O’Rourke is likely the most significant challenger to take on Ted Cruz by far, and the race should be fascinating to watch, even if it’s easy to predict.