AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — 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.
The money came from more than 31,000 donations in the first 24 hours, with 57% of the contributions coming from Texas, spokesman Abhi Rahman said. Small donors have powered O'Rourke's eye-popping fundraising hauls in the past, but his campaign did not disclose a breakdown of contribution sizes so far.
Democrats face steep climb in Texas as O'Rourke mounts governor bid
Beto O'Rourke's entrance into the race for Texas governor on Monday delivered a dose of hope to Democrats, even as doubts remain about the party's ability to gain ground in a state that has largely eluded them for years. O'Rourke, a former congressman who rose to prominence during his 2018 bid against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), is already a proven fundraiser, and his campaign announcement marked a major recruitment win for Democrats who are hoping to compete aggressively against Gov. Greg Abbott (R) next year. But Democrats are also facing a long list of challenges in Texas.
The numbers showed an early burst of enthusiasm for the former El Paso congressman, who in one day raised more money than the entire campaign of Democrats' little-known candidate for Texas governor in 2018. But O'Rourke still has a long way to catch or even approach Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who this summer reported having at least $55 million in his campaign account, more than any incumbent governor in the country.
Video: Beto O'Rourke announces run for Texas governor (The Washington Post)
Abbott, who is seeking a third term, routinely collects six-figure donations in big money from Texas executives. Texas' sheer size makes mounting a statewide campaign costly, and Abbott and O'Rourke are likely to make this among the most expensive governor's races in the country.
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.
Matthew McConaughey still deciding if he will run for Texas Governor .
McConaughey, who lives in Austin, has for months teased a run to unseat Republican Gregg Abbott - and was even tipped to beat the incumbent by pollsters this week in a head-to-head race. However, the 52-year-old actor and philanthropist would also need to see off stiff competition from Democrat Beto O'Rourke, and has yet to say whether he would run as a red or a blue.In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, the married father-of-three was asked as a 'straight shooter' if he would give a straight answer on whether he was going to run, with the deadline looming on December 13.