O’Rourke’s Fundraising Drops in 2nd Quarter to $3.6 Million

Beto O’Rourke delivers remarks on March 30, 2019, in El Paso, Texas, where the former congressman officially launched his presidential campaign. (Photo by ERIK DE LA GARZA/Courthouse News Service)

(CN) — Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke said Monday that he raised $3.6 million in the past three months — millions less than second-quarter totals reported by fellow presidential candidates including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

O’Rourke’s campaign said the latest fundraising totals came from more than 119,800 donors, from every state, who contributed an average of $30 from April through June. In an email to supporters Monday night, O’Rourke said that he has met the Democratic National Committee’s 130,000 unique donor requirement to qualify for the September primary debates.

Fellow Texan Julián Castro, the former housing secretary whose fundraising was bolstered by his debate performance last month in Miami in which he sparred with O’Rourke over immigration, said he took in $2.8 million in the same 90-day period.

But for O’Rourke, a prolific fundraiser who raised $80 million for his 2018 Senate campaign, the latest fundraising totals reflect a new reality after months of low polling and a rocky performance at the first Democratic debates. While he raised $6.1 million in the 24 hours after launching his presidential run, setting an early record for first-day fundraising totals, he is now being outraised by many of his 2020 Democratic rivals, and also has lost an edge in the polls.

Since his leap into presidential politics in March, O’Rourke’s standing in the field has been eclipsed by Biden, Buttigieg, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders. O’Rourke ranks sixth nationally with 2.6%, according to the latest Real Clear Politics polling average.

The top five candidates all reported second-quarter hauls of more than $8 million more than what O’Rourke will report to federal elections regulators, totaling almost $100 million combined.

O’Rourke’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, wrote in the email to supporters that the campaign had expected a slowdown from the field-setting first-day money boom, but that the campaign has room to expand its fundraising operation.

“When you look at our fundraising in aggregate, we’re in a great position,” O’Malley Dillon wrote. “I won’t sugar coat it: we have work to do, but we have the resources we need to execute our strategy.”

O’Rourke has collected more than $13 million in his four months as a presidential candidate, including $9.4 million in the first quarter of the year.

His campaign is still adding top-level staffers: The campaign’s digital director has been on the job for a month, and it was the first week for O’Rourke’s new national finance director, and director of Latino messaging.

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