Beto O'Rourke

O'Rourke Raises $2M in First Day of Texas Governor Campaign

Beto O'Rourke broke a fundraising record for any Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2021 for the first 24 hours

FILE - Beto O'Rourke speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 17, 2019, in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images (File)

Democrat Beto O'Rourke said Wednesday he raised more than $2 million after announcing his campaign for Texas governor, showing an ability to still quickly pile up cash after coming off failed runs for the U.S. Senate and presidency.

His campaign said the money came from more than 20,000 donations in the first 24 hours but did not immediately provide further details, including the number of large contributions or how many came from Texas residents.

"Texans across the state are demanding change. We entered this race because we believe in a bigger vision for Texas. I'm honored to have the support of tens of thousands of Texans to help us build the largest people-powered campaign that Texas has ever seen," O'Rourke said in a statement Wednesday.

But although the numbers showed an early burst of enthusiasm for O'Rourke, the former El Paso congressman still has a long way to catch or even approach Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who this summer reported having at least $55 million in campaign funds. Abbott, who is seeking a third term, is the most prolific fundraiser of any governor in the U.S. and routinely collects six-figure donations in big money from Texas executives.

O'Rourke raised $80 million in his 2018 Senate campaign -- at the time a record for that office -- but his donors will not be confined this time by federal campaign finance laws, since Texas has no limits on individual contributions.

O'Rourke launched his campaign Monday and is spending the first days of the race campaigning along the Texas-Mexico border, where Democrats are on the defensive after unexpected GOP gains there in 2020.

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