Beto O’Rourke raises $7.2 million in first 6 weeks of campaign, while Abbott adds to his war chest

Beto O'Rourke speaks during a 2019 campaign event. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / GAGE SKIDMORE
Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
Beto O'Rourke speaks during a 2019 campaign event.
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Beto O'Rourke raked in $7.2 million during the first six weeks of his campaign, while Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent, raised $18.9 million over a six-month stretch.

Both candidates revealed their latest fundraising data Tuesday as they draw closer to securing their parties' nominations in what's likely to be the most hotly contested Texas gubernatorial race in decades. No Democrat has served as the state's governor since 1995, and the party has failed to attract high-profile candidates during recent cycles.  

O'Rourke's camp said its cash influx is the largest by any Democratic campaign in Texas history. The former El Paso congressman pulled in 115,600 contributions over 46 days, with 80% coming from online donations shortly after he announced his run.

O’Rourke showed himself to be an adept fundraiser during his 2018 near-miss campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. He challenges Abbott as the two-term governor faces heat for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and catastrophic power outages last February. Abbott also oversaw a hard-right shift by the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature during last year's marathon sessions.

Despite his national stature, O'Rourke starts with a substantial funding disadvantage. Abbott has been been restocking his war chest since his 2018 reelection, and his recent haul puts his campaign at $65 million.

In emailed statement, the Democratic contender sought to contrast his haul with Abbott's.

“While Abbott is taking million-dollar checks from the CEOs who profited off of the grid collapse, we’re receiving support from people all over Texas who want to ensure that our state finally leads in great jobs, world class schools and the ability to see a doctor," O'Rourke said.

In a similar press statement, Abbott also attempted to paint his campaign as a grassroots effort, even though the Texas Tribune last year reported that the governor raised $4.6 million from the energy industry in the followup of the past legislative session.

"The nearly 159,000 total contributions show a broad base of support from every demographic," the incumbent said.

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