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'Beyond Surprising': Beto Breaks Fundraising Records

He raises $31.8M in 3 months in tight race against Ted Cruz
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2018 12:45 PM CDT
This combination of Sept. 21, 2018, file photos shows GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, left, and Democratic US Rep. Beto O'Rourke, right, during their first Senate debate in Dallas.   (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool, File)

(Newser) – Small-dollar donations have been the hallmark of the campaign of US Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, who hasn't accepted PAC money in his attempt to grab Ted Cruz's Texas Senate seat. But like snowflakes that form an avalanche, all those more modest donations have converged to become what the Dallas Morning News says may be an "insurmountable" financial line for Cruz to reach. O'Rourke has crushed fundraising records and brought in $38.1 million from July through September, more than three times the $12 million raised by Cruz during the same three months. It's the country's most expensive midterms race, with the Morning News noting not even presidential campaigns typically bring in that much cash that quickly.

In total, O'Rourke has raised $61.2 million in 2018 to Cruz's $24.9 million. "No one could predict or expect it," GOP consultant Bill Miller tells the Morning News, calling it "beyond surprising." Two recent polls, however, show Cruz with a single-digit lead, though the Cook Political Report still says the race could go either way. "You could argue that at least some of that money would be more useful going to fellow Democratic candidates in red-leaning states ... [that] have a much better chance of winning than O'Rourke does," Amber Phillips writes for the Washington Post. A Democratic strategist shrugs that off, noting other Democratic challengers are still raising good money. "Obviously, money doesn't win elections," he tells the Morning News. "But being broke sure loses a bunch of them." (Read more Beto O'Rourke stories.)

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