Robert O’Rourke’s campaign has announced that he raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his candidacy for president, which is the most out of the 2020 candidates.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had the top spot at $5.9 million until now.

The campaign stated O’Rourke raised the money online and from all 50 states. From The New York Times:

Mr. O’Rourke’s early burst of fund-raising illustrates how much he has captured the imagination of many Democratic activists around the country, who propelled him to break financial records last year in his ultimately losing bid to unseat Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. There were some doubts as to whether those same grass-roots donors would also contribute to him when he was not facing Mr. Cruz — a detested figure on the left — but rather was one more entrant in a sprawling presidential primary.

Mr. O’Rourke’s money will, at least for now, quiet some of those skeptics: In a single day online, he raised nearly a quarter of what Barack Obama, then a senator, did in the entire first quarter of 2007.

We have to take the word of the campaign since the candidates do not have to fill out fundraising reports until the end of the month. The public will receive those findings on April 15.

This has to worry the Democrat Party, which prides itself on the minority factor. First off, poll after poll has shown the most support for former Vice President Joe Biden and Sanders. Now O’Rourke and Sanders have the best fundraising.

It has to terrify them that so many people, as of right now, favor the white men.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) raised $1.5 million, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) raised $1 million, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $300,000 in their first 24 hours.

Question is, how long will the Democrat Party have to tolerate O’Rourke? Politico noted that O’Rourke drew in large crowds, but it didn’t go smoothly:

Four days into his presidential campaign, O’Rourke’s supporters are still stuffing themselves into coffee shops and living rooms across the Midwest to see the Democratic sensation as he motors east from Iowa to New Hampshire in a Dodge Grand Caravan. And O’Rourke by the weekend was moving deliberately to speak more specifically about policy, to hold more organized events and to mend his relationship with the media.

But for all the charisma and fundraising that could carry him far into the Democratic primary, a series of missteps in his campaign’s earliest days served as a reminder of how uncertain a prospect his star remains.

“For all the fanfare, the band was playing a pretty flat tune,” Dave Nagle, a former congressman and Iowa state Democratic Party chairman, said after watching O’Rourke address a large rally from the bed of a red Ford Ranger in Waterloo, Iowa. “There’s just no substance to it.”

O’Rourke couldn’t give many straight answers when it came to policy. He also offended some when he said that he sometimes helps his wife raise their three kids. That led to an apology and him admitting he has “white privilege.”

It doesn’t help that O’Rourke’s website is filled with merchandise and lacks his position on issues. I looked it up this weekend and found his website bland. I had to navigate news websites in order to find where he stands on issues. Those in Iowa noticed his lack of answers:

Some voters made it clear they wanted more from O’Rourke when it came to specifics — a dynamic that could become more pronounced later in Democratic debates later this summer.

In Independence, one voter opened his question to O’Rourke by noting that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also running for the nomination, “is the gold standard of policy.” O’Rourke, the voter said, had been “doing a good job identifying the issues — but I don’t think any of us have heard any particular policies.”

Greg Batenhorst, the superintendent of schools in Mount Vernon, came to the Sing-A-Long Bar armed with a tough, specific question he had prepared for O’Rourke — about what he would do on immigration issues, a topic where he has struggled in the past on policy details. O’Rourke told Batenhorst he would immediately legalize DACA recipients and highlighted the bipartisan support for immigration reform — an answer that wasn’t enough for Batenhorst and his wife, Mary Lou.

Then came issues with the press:

And the media was there to see the exchange — after O’Rourke infuriated network and print reporters at the start of the campaign. His staff initially refused to provide basic information to many outlets about events, and they told some reporters that events were closed to the press — or forced them to leave — while allowing others in.

The campaign left a crush of press in the dark even about O’Rourke’s first stop in Iowa — the first public appearance of his campaign.

Who knows what will happen, but it seems like O’Rourke is learning as he goes. As his campaign continues, it will be interesting to see if his fundraising remains strong.


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