- By Jonathan Tilove American-Statesman Staff
Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke out-raised Sen. Ted Cruz in the last quarter of 2017, $2.4 million to $1.9 million. But the Republican incumbent maintained a $7.3 million to $4.6 million cash advantage heading into 2018, though the third term Democratic congressman from El Paso has narrowed that gap since the middle of 2017, from a 3.9 million to a $2.7 million deficit.
The fundraising reports for the last three months of 2017 are due Wednesday, but O’Rourke made the announcement of his campaign totals for the quarter from the stage at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston. It was a “Bands for Beto” event 15 hours into a 24-hour live-stream of the campaign, culminating in a midnight rally at his Austin headquarters at 6929 Airport Boulevard, and a “UT Austin All-Nighter with Beto” at the Kerbey Lane Cafe, 2606 Guadalupe Street, before departing for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 3:30 a.m., and the conclusion of the live-stream at 5:15 a.m., 24 hours after it began in Houston.
The Cruz campaign subsequently released its figures.
Cruz built an enormous national fundraising operation in his 2012 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, which gave his campaign a headstart. He should be able to outspend O’Rourke. But O’Rourke’s fundraising remains impressive, and he has been running a lean campaign, without pollsters or political consultants, and relying on countless town meetings and copious live-streaming.
“Putting 100 percent of our faith and focus in the people of Texas is proving to be more than a match for the PACs, special interests and corporations who have captured, corroded and corrupted Congress for far too long,” O’Rourke said. “We raised over $2.4 million from more than 55,500 donations, most of which came from Texas, every single one of them made by real people to take back our state and our country with everything we care about on the line in this election.”
The O’Rourke campaign said it had received 55,000 donations in the quarter, up from 33,000 the previous quarter.
O’Rourke’s 24-hour live-stream included town hall meetings in Houston and Sugar Land, a behind-the-counter visit to a donut shop and, with his wife, Amy, serving lunch The Beacon, a center for homeless people.