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Beto O’Rourke will be hard pressed to catch up with Ted Cruz’s fundraising

Beto O’Rourke will be hard pressed to catch up with Ted Cruz’s fundraising

Thousands vs. millions

Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Congressman from El Paso announced his Senate candidacy just a few weeks ago. He has an impressive $500K in the bank, an amount that pales in comparison to Cruz’s $5 million.

O’Rourke had a successful first quarter, raising just over $200k. Not bad for a little known Congressman, but he has a long way to go if he wants to catch up with Cruz, who raised $1.7 million in that same timeframe.

From the El Paso Times:

According to the FEC filing, O’Rourke has raised $409,000 since December and spent about $86,000. With money left over from previous House campaigns, O’Rourke had $535,000 in the bank at the end of March.

And while he lags far behind Cruz in cash on hand, the number of contributions to O’Rourke signals wide grass-roots support, a political scientist said.

The 2017 numbers are a good start for O’Rourke, but far from what he’ll need to mount a serious challenge to Cruz, said University of Houston political science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus.

“Half a million dollars will you get you down the road, but it won’t get you to the finish line,” Rottinghaus said. “They need to focus on getting money in the bank that has multiple zeroes.”

In addition to the $5 million Cruz has in the bank, he has a well established fundraising mechanism, having run a state-wide race and a national campaign.

Politico had the skinny on Cruz’s early fundraising efforts:

Sen. Ted Cruz is sitting on a war chest of more than $5 million as he prepares for potentially stiff challenges in both a Republican primary and in the general election, according to numbers provided to POLITICO.

The Texas Republican raised about $1.738 million in the first three months of this year across his Senate reelection campaign, his political action committee and the Ted Cruz Victory Committee. He now has $5.2 million across those three committees, and $4.8 million of that is in his Senate reelection account.

O’Rourke has promised not to take PAC contributions and to limit his Senate service to two terms, should he be elected. The PAC contribution promise sounds virtuous, but depending on the kind of entity, those organizations can only legally donate $5k or less to a candidate. And that doesn’t stop a super PAC from running pro-O’Rourke ads either.

Rumor has it that Rep. Michael McCaul is considering throwing his hat in the Republican primary ring, but he’s yet to make his final decision public.

If Texas does end up with an O’Rourke v. Cruz race, the dynamics will be a fascinating watch.

Cruz, who ran as a beltway outsider the first time around is now the incumbent. He might be principled, but it’s hard to say what exactly he’s accomplished during his four-year tenure in the Senate, a large chunk of which he spent running for President. Cruz has the advantage in Harris County (the most populous in the state and home of Houston), where is support is strongest.

Meanwhile, O’Rourke is no typical Democrat, but is much more emblematic of Americans his age. He’s pro-term limits, pro-weed legalization, pro-immigration, is fluent in Spanish, and endorsed Hillary. He’s young, hipster-esque and may have an invorgorated Democratic army (and deep pockets) behind him.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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buckeyeminuteman | April 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

After running a successful class president campaign for Pedro, looks like Napoleon Dynamite has decided to throw his own hat into the ring. I’m hoping he decides to show us his sweet bow staff and nunchuck skills!

    Tom Servo in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | April 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    ROFL! That’s about the size of it!

    Running Beto O’Rourke against Cruz is what happens when you have so little bench strength that you’re reduced to asking for walk-ons from the bleachers.

    Neither Abbot or Cruz is going to face a serious challenge in 2018. Now past experience (aka Wendy Davis and others) shows that the Hispanic/minority grudge machine that is today’s Texas Dems can usually count on getting about 35%; so I think it’s safe to predict a 65/35 win, plus or minus 5 points, for both Cruz and Abbot in 2018. Paxton is a lot more open to a primary challenge, but his fate is gonna depend a lot on what happens with his legal issues over the next 18 months.

    scooterjay in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | April 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    wah ha ha ha!

Maybe Beta O’Rourke should get some pink sneakers and tampon slinging supporters.

Does Beto mean beta in Spanish?

I guess I’ll give Ted some more $$. Someone please tell Mike McCaul that he should NOT run, unless Cruz is nominated for a Supreme Court vacancy. I like McCaul, but …….I’m not sure I’d vote for him over Abbott, if that were my choice in another year.

Cruz in a walk.