Texas Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Beto O’Rourke released fundraising figures for his campaign — and the amount he was able to raise should be cause for alarm to his general election opponent, Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke reported on Tuesday that his campaign had raised $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2018. That number is higher than any other Democratic senate candidate across the nation and is remarkable for another reason: It doesn’t include any political action committee (PAC) dollars.
“We’re absolutely running this race the right way — not taking any PAC money, going to every single county and holding town halls across Texas where anyone can ask any question,” O’Rourke said in a statement.
Although Cruz has not yet released his own fundraising totals, it’s likely that O’Rourke has outperformed him for this quarter. The El Paso Democrat has already bested Cruz in three of the last four reporting periods, doing so with fundraising being in some cases three times smaller than what he reported bringing in this week.
O’Rourke’s campaign reported that they had raised their money from 141,000 donors in total in the first quarter. That would make the average contribution around $50 per donor.
The race between the two candidates will likely heat up before the November midterm elections. With the strength of a national “blue wave” helping him, O’Rourke is already within distance of unseating Cruz. A poll in January showed that Cruz was only ahead of O’Rourke by about 8 percentage points.
A win by O’Rourke would be a huge shock to Republicans, who have typically seen Texas as a state that is reliably red. But given the upset in Alabama this past December that saw Democratic candidate Doug Jones defeat Republican Roy Moore, this year’s elections will be anything but typical.
Many GOP districts that were once seen as safe are now up for grabs. That includes Cruz’s senate seat, and in light of these new fundraising figures, it seems it’s more vulnerable now than had been previously thought.