As the second fundraising quarter for the 2020 presidential campaign has officially come to an end, reports show that White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke of Texas only raised about $3.6 million from April through June.
This is a rather startling amount for the once fundraising king who brought in over 80 million in his 2018 senate race against Senator Ted Cruz.
His early presidential campaign didn’t seem to lack funding either, as he reported raising about $9.4 million in his first fundraising quarter. This second quarter’s totals don’t even reach half of that.
Neither does it compare much to the $6.1 million he brought in the first 24 hours after he announced his campaign for the presidency in March.
Such large past numbers and apparent success in the polls early on had many believing he was a first-place contender.
But now many are questioning his capabilities and lowering their standards. Not only is this quarter’s raised amount less than last quarter’s but it is also lower than any the four quarters of his 2018 Senate run in the previous year.
It also puts on the same level as 16 other Democratic presidential candidates who all raised less than $5 million in the second quarter and not at all where he wants to be.
Leading the race in fundraising amounts and polls are Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana with $24.8 million; former vice president Joe Biden at $21.5 million; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with $19.1 million; Vermont’s Bernie Sanders at $18 million; and Kamala Harris from California coming in at $11.8 million.
However, his advisors and allies haven’t given up entirely, saying there is still time to improve his standings.
“When you look at our fundraising in aggregate, we’re in a great position,” says O’Rourke’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley in an interview on Monday. “I won’t sugarcoat it: we have work to do, but we have the resources we need to execute our strategy.”
And while his numbers this quarter are much lower than expected, he is still eligible to participate in the September-October fall debates.
The debate requires participants to have at least 130,000 donors and at least 2% in four polls. Though, based on his past record with debates, this may not bode well for him.
According to the report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the $3.6 million brought in from April to June was given by about 120,000 donations.
The average of these donations was near $30. Add this to his first-quarter totals, and he has just under 200,000 donors, which is well over the required 130,000. Even more favorable for him is the fact that nearly 48% of all his donors are new.
O’Malley claims this as excellent news and says that “campaigns aren’t about how you’re doing at any particular moment – they’re about how you build over time.”
She went on to say that O’Rourke’s campaign is “truly funded by people – not PACs, lobbyist, or special interests,” and for that she is proud.
Many believe his lower than expected result has much to do with his campaign strategy so far, which as O’Malley says was based on holding smaller, in-person events instead of building up their operations.
She says this limited the number of staff available at any given place, including O’Rourke’s campaign headquarters in his home town of El Paso, Texas, making it nearly impossible to handle his almost immediate popularity when the race began effectively.
However, she says there has been a shift in that strategy as of late. O’Rourke has now begun campaigning on a much larger scale, appearing on national television more frequently and giving out more details of his policy proposals.
This, with the addition of a fundraising manager to the campaign, has supporters hoping for positive change.
O’Rourke also announced just hours before the quarters fundraising total was made public that instead of cutting back because of the lack of funding they were going to advance rapidly, opening 11 more field offices in Iowa and receiving 22 activist endorsements.
However, it is still uncertain if he will be able to pull it off. He is behind considerably in the polls as well and will have to work really hard to prove his worth, especially in light of the more outspoken leftists he is running against.