Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after announcing his candidacy for the presidency late last week.
That total put him slightly above rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who raised $5.9 million within 24 hours of launching his bid to secure the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.
“In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us for all of us that answers not to the PACs, corporations and special interests but to the people,” O’Rourke said in a statement, Politico reported.
The Democrat came to national prominence last fall when he unsuccessfully sought to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
The Washington Post reported Both O’Rourke’s and Sanders’ first 24-hour totals far outstripped other contenders for the Democratic nomination, including Sen. Kamala Harris of California who took in $1.5 million, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who raised $1 million each within the first 48 hours of announcing their candidacies.
Trailing significantly behind was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who saw $300,000 come into her campaign coffers, within 24 hours of entering the race.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls currently shows former Vice President Joe Biden as garnering the most support among the Democratic primary field, though he has not yet entered the race.
The RCP average has polling him at 29 percent; followed by Sanders with 22 percent; Harris, 11 percent; Warren, 7 percent; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, 5.8 percent; O’Rourke, 5.3 percent; and Klobuchar at 3.7 percent.
The Post’s Aaron Blake noted, “Fundraising obviously isn’t the be-all, end-all in politics, as Trump showed in 2016 when he was strongly outspent and still won.
“But in an extremely crowded Democratic primary field — and a Trumpified news environment in which the president is always a center of attention — getting noticed is at a premium. And strong fundraising totals like this can serve notice that a politician like O’Rourke has a real base of support.”
In announcing his presidential candidacy last Thursday, O’Rourke listed the “interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate” among the top reasons he is running.
“The moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country,” he said.
O’Rourke has come out in strong opposition to President Donald Trump’s efforts to build additional barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico, and has called for the existing approximately 650 miles of them to be taken down.
“We know that walls do not save lives; walls end lives,” O’Rourke said at a counter-rally taking place as Trump promoted the need for additional security at the southern border in El Paso, Texas, last month.
Democrat Beto O’Rourke: “Walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.” pic.twitter.com/kKFJ7IerCt
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 12, 2019
At his El Paso rally, Trump described O’Rourke as “a young man who’s got very little going for himself except a great first name,” according to NPR.
“He’s supposed to win in order to run,” the president added. “Beto was defeated.”
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