Politics

Beto O’Rourke Smashes Senate Race Fundraising Record with Nearly $40 Million Haul

Previous single-quarter record set by New York Republican Rick Lazio in 2000

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke raised a record $38.1 million in the third quarter of 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised a record $38.1 million in the third quarter, the campaign announced Friday, nearly tripling his overall fundraising haul for the cycle.

The blockbuster quarter surpasses the record for the largest fundraising quarter ever in a U.S. Senate race — set by Rick Lazio in his race against Hillary Clinton in New York in 2000.

The total was “powered by 802,836 individual contributions and without a dime from PACs, corporations or special interests,” the campaign said in a press release.

Most polls in the state place his opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, in the driver’s seat still — though O’Rourke has an outsider’s shot at defeating him on election night, most experts speculate.

Texas may be slipping from the bulletproof GOP stronghold it was over the last few decades, but it’s still a reliably red state. President Donald Trump won there over Hillary Clinton by 11 points in 2016.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.

O’Rourke’s report marks the sixth consecutive quarter that O’Rourke has outraised Cruz, the campaign said.

O’Rourke, the upstart Democrat in the race who has garnered a national profile through savvy media manipulation and by cultivating a young-gun image, went viral over the internet after delivering a speech at a campaign event in the summer defending athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality.

Through the first half of 2018, O’Rourke had already raised an impressive $23.6 million for the cycle and had nearly $14 million in cash on hand for the campaign's home stretch.

Cruz had raised virtually the same amount but was behind on cash, with $9.3 million still in his coffers.

 

Watch: As Midterms Enter Final Stretch, Senators Ready Their Rallying Cries

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