Beto O’Rourke nearly triples Ted Cruz fundraising in 2018


Beto O’Rourke is showing surprising strength in raising money in his bid to unseat Sen. Ted. Cruz.

Cruz has more cash on hand, but O’Rourke has been narrowing the gap.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke has raised nearly three times as much money as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

O’Rourke, a third-term Democratic congressman from El Paso, has raised $2.3 million through Feb. 14 toward his U.S. Senate campaign. Cruz, a Houston Republican seeking his second term, raised $800,000.

While O’Rourke touted his bounty as soon as the fundraising reporting period closed on Feb. 14, Cruz has not yet announced the numbers in his fundraising report, which was due, on paper, with the secretary of the Senate at the end of last week. An electronic copy won’t be available for a few days. But The Dallas Morning News reported the figures contained in the report Friday.

Cruz continues to have a cash advantage over O’Rourke — $6 million to $4.9 million — but O’Rourke has been closing the gap.

PREVIOUSLY: Beto O’Rourke raised more money than Ted Cruz in last quarter of 2017

According to O’Rourke’s campaign, the latest totals came from more than 43,000 contributions.

Asked about O’Rourke’s fundraising momentum at a recent campaign stop in New Braunfels on behalf of Republican congressional candidate Chip Roy, Cruz told reporters he does not underestimate the passion on the left.

“They’re angry, they hate the president,” Cruz said. “We’ve seen all across the country the Democrats’ fundraising numbers are through the roof because their base is so energized.”

“This is a volatile political time,” Cruz said. “That energy on the hard left is dangerous … if conservatives are complacent, if conservatives stay home. I hope that doesn’t happen.”

“There are a lot more conservatives than liberals in the state of Texas, but they have to show up at the polls for their votes to count,” Cruz said.

Responding to O’Rourke’s strong numbers, Cruz campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier pointed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

“Chuck Schumer did a great job,” Frazier said in a statement. “He came to Texas early in the year and got national liberals really excited about the chance to elect a pro-amnesty, anti-gun, pro-big government liberal to represent Texas. We don’t believe that’s the direction Texans want and are confident this will energize them to ensure they turn out to vote for someone who wants to keep taxes low, keep repealing regulations including Obamacare, and uphold the Texas values that have made and kept our state strong.”

ALSO READ: Beto O’Rourke doesn’t want Nancy Pelosi to stump for him for Senate

O’Rourke has touted his refusal to accept any political action committee money.

While Cruz, thanks to his 2016 presidential campaign, has built an impressive national grass-roots donor base, PAC money has been an important part of his mix.

“The Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, these are PACs, yes, but they are PACs without which Ted Cruz wouldn’t be in the United States Senate. Neither would (Utah Sen.) Mike Lee, neither would the other guys fighting for you right now,” Roy told the audience at a recent Comal County Republican Party candidate forum, explaining his reliance on PAC money.

According to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday, Cruz is leading the four GOP rivals he faces in the March primary with 91 percent of the vote. The internet survey of 1,200 likely primary voters was conducted Feb. 1 to 12. Its margin of error for Republican primary results is 3.96 percentage points.

On the Democratic side, O’Rourke is leading two rivals with 73 percent support, compared with 19 percent for Sema Hernandez and 8 percent for Edward Kimbrough, both of Houston. But, before the respondents were pushed to make a choice, a third said they hadn’t thought enough about the race to have an opinion.

ALSO READ: Cruz decries Democrats for failing to applaud Trump’s wins for workers

The poll’s margin of error on the Democratic side is 4.6 percentage points.

According to the poll, 29 percent of voters, regardless of party, have a favorable opinion of O’Rourke, 14 percent have an unfavorable view of him, 19 percent have neither a favorable or unfavorable impression, and a whopping 39 percent don’t know enough to form an opinion.

The poll found voters more settled and more negative in their opinion of Cruz — 40 percent positive, 42 percent negative, 12 percent neither favorable or unfavorable and 6 percent without an opinion.

The poll had an overall a margin of error of 2.83 percentage points.

O’Rourke, who has visited 221 of the state’s 254 counties, is holding a town hall-style meeting 1 p.m. Sunday at Pearl Snap Hall, 701 N. Austin Ave., in Georgetown.

On Monday, he will be going for a run with supporters, setting out at 6 a.m. at the Fannie Davis Town Lake Gazebo at 676 W Riverside Drive in Austin.

FIRST READING: Beto Effing O’Rourke runs for Senate with the expletive undeleted

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong amount of money that U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke has on hand.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Of course Bill Murray pops by as alumnus gifts UT with comedic posters
Of course Bill Murray pops by as alumnus gifts UT with comedic posters

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas holds some of the most treasured cultural artifacts the world over, one of the school’s distinguished alumni, Cappy McGarr, said Saturday. That includes one of only eight copies of the Gutenberg Bible in the United States and the first photograph ever taken, two centuries ago. The storied library...
JUST IN: Person in custody after intentional dumpster fire at Kohl’s, $100K in damages
JUST IN: Person in custody after intentional dumpster fire at Kohl’s, $100K in damages

Fire investigators took a person into custody Saturday after they say a fire was intentionally started in a dumpster outside of a Kohl’s in North Austin. The Austin Fire Department responded around noon Saturday to a fire in the dumpster at the store at 13609 North Interstate 35. The blaze was contained to the dumpster and did not spread...
Asylum seeker released from Taylor detention center, group says
Asylum seeker released from Taylor detention center, group says

A Salvadoran woman seeking asylum who has said that a guard groped her inside a Williamson County immigration detention facility has been released, a group supporting her said Saturday morning. Laura Monterrosa was released from the T. Don Hutto detention facility in Taylor on Friday night, the group Grassroots Leadership said. The group did not say...
Elderly woman navigates busy traffic in Memphis on mobility scooter
Elderly woman navigates busy traffic in Memphis on mobility scooter

A woman alarmed drivers in Memphis on Friday night as she drove a mobility scooter onto a dangerous highway. The woman, who appeared to be in her 70s or 80s, was seen driving around 7 p.m. The incident was recorded live on Facebook.  The video was being filmed as a cry for help. Facebook user, Towanna Murphy, asked her friends to please share...
FORECAST: Warm, cloudy Saturday at SXSW; only slight chance of showers
FORECAST: Warm, cloudy Saturday at SXSW; only slight chance of showers

It’s the last Saturday of South By Southwest and the National Weather Service expects it will be warm and cloudy, with only a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. Saturday’s highs should be around 86 degrees under mostly cloudy skies, and meteorologists put rain chances at 20 percent, most likely after 1 p.m. As bands take the outdoor...
More Stories