DALLAS - Congressman Beto O’Rourke says his campaign set a fundraising record for a United States Senate race.
O’Rourke’s campaign raised $38 million over the past three months. That’s more than three times the amount brought in by incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz. He raised about $12 million during the same period.
The Democratic congressman from El Paso said his money came from individual contributions – more than 800,000 of them – mostly from Texas.
Despite the fundraising haul, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Cruz with a solid nine-point lead and higher favorability ratings.
A New York Times Upshot and Siena College poll says Cruz leads O’Rourke 51 to 42 with a margin of 3.6
So while the money is big, polls at least indicate there is a lot of ground to cover with just 10 days away from the start of early voting.
Weathering the pouring rain at Fort Worth's Marine Park on Friday, O'Rourke stumped in front of supporters and appeared not to falter in the wake of recent polls that suggest his momentum has stalled.
“Who knows whether polls reliably predict the outcome of elections anymore after 2016,” he said. “But my money is on the people of Texas.”
O'Rourke grasped the news that his campaign has tripled Cruz in fundraising over the last quarter. O’Rourke's campaign says a majority of it has come from Texas. FOX 4 asked him how much.
“I don't know what the exact percentage is,” he said. “But every single quarter, including this one, the majority of money we've raised has mostly come from the state of Texas in low dollar amounts.”
At an afternoon rally in Houston, Cruz attacked O'Rourke over his pile of money.
“Every left-wing radical in the country wants to turn Texas blue,” Cruz said. “And they are sending their money to comrade Beto.”
For Cruz, it's now a rallying cry in the final stretch until Election Day.
SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson says while O'Rourke's fundraising is headline-grabbing, it's not everything.
“It's really an extraordinary haul for Beto O’Rourke. It shatters all records,” Wilson said. “You can't buy an election, contrary to popular opinion. And a lot of the campaigns historically that have raised the most money have ended up losing.”
Wilson says the race, which has drawn dominated attention statewide and nationwide due to the chance a Democrat could win a Senate seat in Texas again, might be pulling in money because it will be such a challenge.
“Sometimes, a campaign will attract a lot of money because people around the country see it as an uphill battle to defeat someone they really want to defeat,” Wilson said.
Cruz and O'Rourke will debate a second time Tuesday in San Antonio. Political observers say Cruz will likely be more aggressive in that debate. They expect O’Rourke to fight back and try to get some solid one-liners in.