The El Paso Democrat surpassed $39m in third quarter fundraising from over 800,000 individual contributors — the most in any quarter of a US Senate race on record. His grassroots campaign was fuelled by small-dollar donations — a majority of which were donated by Texas residents — while the congressman has rejected money from outside groups.
"The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there’s no stopping us," Mr O’Rourke said in a statement sent to The Independent. "This is a historic campaign of people: all people, all the time, everywhere, every single day — that’s how we’re going to win this election and do something incredible for Texas and our country at this critical moment."
Mr Cruz, the incumbent Republican senator, has trailed his opponent in fundraising, although he he is leading in several recent polls.
His campaign garnered less than a third of Mr O’Rourke’s in the most recent quarter coming in at around $12m, and just half of the Democrat’s fundraising in the previous quarter.
In fact, Mr O’Rourke appeared to have out-raised Mr Cruz in the last six reporting periods, according to Federal Elections Committee data.
The record-breaking figures arrive as the nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved Texas’ Senate race rating from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”. The label essentially means that analysts cannot safely predict whether the state will remain reliably red or if Mr O’Rourke’s campaign could provide Democrats with the first statewide office in decades.
The pair will face off in a final debate next week in San Antonio on Tuesday night.
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