By: Caroline Kelly
WASHINGTON — Democratic Texas Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke received $2.1 million in donations in the second quarter for his campaign against incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, his campaign announced Thursday.
O’Rourke’s bid is considered a long shot since reliably GOP Texas hasn’t had a Democratic senator since 1994, but he has raised funds quickly since announcing his candidacy. At the end of March, O’Rourke had only $535,000 in campaign funds, at the time a tenth of Cruz’s war chest.
And the El Paso Democratic congressman has raised the money without donations from political action committees after vowing not to take money from PACs. Among the 46,574 individual donations from April to June, the average contribution was $44, the campaign said. In-state donors accounted for 81 percent of the the contributions.
“Not a single dime came from PACs, or special interests, or corporate donors,” O’Rourke said in a video on his campaign Facebook page accompanying the announcement. However, the well-funded progressive group End Citizens United PAC came out in support of O’Rourke last month, directing their 157,000 Texas members and 330,000 nationwide donors towards him.
Because O’Rourke has committed not to not take PAC money, that will limit the help End Citizens United can provide because the group will not be able to contribute to the campaign. He introduced a bill — the No PAC Act — shortly before launching his campaign that would prevent all congressional candidates from accepting money from PACs, though the legislation is not expected to move forward.
O’Rourke raised $1 million online in April and May, Politico reported.
Cruz’s fundraising has been historically formidable. After running for president last year, he has many prominent conservative donors behind him and started his re-election bid with more than $5 million in the bank at the end of March.
Cruz’s campaign did not immediately provide second-quarter numbers on Thursday, but at the end of the first quarter, the campaign committee Ted Cruz for Senate raised nearly $1.3 million, and joint fundraising committee the Ted Cruz Victory Committee raised $427,000.