On Tuesday, Democrat hopeful Beto O’Rourke proclaimed that his campaign for the Texas gubernatorial race had managed to raise $7.2M during the first six weeks of the race. Given the blistering pace of O’Rourke’s fundraising, the Texas governor race may become the most expensive election of 2022.
O’Rourke’s announcement emerges during the deadline in Texas for aspiring campaigns to send in their most recent financial reports. In addition, the announcement serves as an indicator for whether or not O’Rourke will maintain fundraising momentum, particularly after unsuccessful attempts to run for the U.S. Senate, as well as the presidency.
The $7.2M in fundraising comprises one of the most significant sums of money for a Democrat based in Texas, notably Democrats who have previously run for governor. However, over the past 30 years, a Democrat has yet to ascend to the governor’s seat.
Moreover, incumbent Governor Greg Abbott has also demonstrated a consistent ability to raise multiple millions of dollars in mere days, including from several executives at Texas’s numerous corporations, energy firms, and other entities.
Abbott, who is seeking a third term, has not yet issued a public report regarding his latest fundraising numbers. However, as of Summer 2021, Abbott currently boasts a war chest of at least $55M.
In addition, O’Rourke’s announcement was relatively scant on details, including only the top-line numbers. However, the aspiring governor did not identify his largest contributors, nor did he identify where his earliest supporters originated from. While O’Rourke claims that his donations originate from virtually “every part” of the state of Texas, he did not provide specific information regarding which percentage of the millions came from individuals who reside in Texas.
In 2018, O’Rourke managed to raise $80M for his U.S. Senate campaign, which, at the time, was considered a record. However, in the gubernatorial race, O’Rourke will not be bound by campaign finance laws that govern federal elections.
Since the state of Texas presently does not have limits on individual contributions, O’Rourke may amass more millions from his gubernatorial run than he did for his U.S. Senate run, with considerably more murkiness.