How Beto O’Rourke Built a Fundraising Army

“Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) knew, at the outset, that his campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) would be a long shot. Texas had not voted for a Democratic senator in 25 years, O’Rourke didn’t have statewide name recognition, and, moreover, he was pledging to run without taking money from political action committees—a potentially healthy spigot of campaign funds that he would be foregoing,” the Daily Beast reports.

“To overcome those odds, the Texas Democrat and his top aides placed a major bet on a novel strategy: they would dramatically break down the barriers between candidate and voter. O’Rourke would make heavy use of social media to essentially broadcast otherwise mundane daily functions. And he would treat the often-pesky task of campaign fundraising as an ongoing conversation rather than a plea for cash.”

O’Rourke Raised Staggering Sum Last Quarter

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) raised over $6.7 million for his U.S. Senate bid in the first quarter of 2018, “a staggering number that poses a new category of threat” to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Texas Tribune reports.

“The haul is easily O’Rourke’s biggest fundraising quarter yet, more than double his next-closest total for a three-month period. It also is more than any Democratic Senate candidate nationwide took in last quarter, O’Rourke’s campaign said.”

And that’s without taking any PAC money.

Is O’Rourke Overhyped?

Karl Rove: “Just as the media buildup about Democratic early voting fell short, so did the party’s highly touted U.S. Senate hopeful, Rep. Robert F. ‘Beto’ O’Rourke. National Democrats have hyped the telegenic El Paso congressman as a strong bet to upset Ted Cruz, the state’s junior senator. Mr. O’Rourke spent $4.2 million to win his primary with 62%. But he lost 103 of the state’s 254 counties to Edward Kimbrough, a retired Postal Service employee, who spent $785 and received 15%, and Sema Hernandez, who spent nothing—zero, zip, nada—and still got 24%. (Ms. Hernandez did have a Facebook page.) Mr. Cruz received twice as many votes in his primary as Mr. O’Rourke did in his.”

“It has been 24 years since Democrats won a statewide race in Texas. Absent a major GOP scandal, they’ll continue that losing streak this year as their statewide ticket is lackluster and—with the exception of Mr. O’Rourke—underfunded.”

Cruz Slams O’Rourke for Using a Nickname

Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) re-election campaign released a 60-second radio ad that was a country music jingle prodding O’Rourke for going by “Beto” rather than “Robert,” CNN reports.

Said the song: “Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.”

O’Rourke responded saying he’s gone by “Beto” since he was born.

Of course, Cruz’s real name is Rafael Edward Cruz and he goes by the nickname “Ted.”

Democrats See a Chance at Beating Ted Cruz

“Voters in Texas on Tuesday are setting up a showdown that Democrats hope will lead to their first victory in a statewide election there since 1994, with Rep. Beto O’Rourke vying to compete for the Senate seat of Republican Ted Cruz,” the Washington Post reports.

“It’s a daunting task for O’Rourke, 45, a three-term congressman. But there are signs he could at least keep November’s election close, including an impressive early-vote turnout among Democrats for Tuesday’s primaries, robust fundraising reports and polls showing declines in popularity for Cruz and President Trump. Neither O’Rourke nor Cruz is facing serious competition in Tuesday’s primaries.”

Can Beto O’Rourke Be a Giant Killer?

New York Times: “It has been so bleak for Democrats in Texas that they define victory in terms of the size of their losses. A running joke in Mr. O’Rourke’s speeches is that he has almost convinced his mother, Melissa, a Republican, to vote for him.”

“But there is power in the giant-killer narrative and signs that his anti-campaign playbook campaign is working. He raised $2.4 million in the last quarter, and gets applause when he notes that was $500,000 more than Mr. Cruz took in.”

“He has a restless energy that has put him in 217 of Texas 254 counties, driving tens of thousands of miles, fueled by bad coffee and Hostess cupcakes that supporters bring him.”

O’Rourke Outraises Cruz Again

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) raised $2.4 million last quarter in his effort to oust Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Dallas Morning News reports.

“It’s the second time O’Rourke has out-raised the Republican favorite in a single fundraising quarter. Following O’Rourke’s news, the Cruz campaign announced it brought in $1.9 million in the final quarter of 2017.”

Also interesting: “O’Rourke has sworn off the help of political action committees. According to the campaign, more than 70 percent of the last quarter’s donations came from Texas, and none of the funds came from loans.”

Cruz Failed to Disclose Loans from Goldman Sachs

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “improperly accounted for loans he received from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. during his 2012 campaign, saying the funds were his own personal contributions to the Senate race,” Bloomberg reports.

“The finding, released on the FEC website, marked a rare instance of agreement among the agency’s five commissioners, who voted unanimously that the $1.1 million of loans from the banks should have been disclosed to voters.”