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World & Nation

Beto O’Rourke raises $6.1 million on Day 1 of White House run, topping Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke greets a crowd outside Cargo Coffee on East Washingt
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke greets a crowd during a stop in Madison, Wis., on March 17.
(Amber Arnold / Wisconsin State Journal)

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke raised more than $6 million online during the first 24 hours after he announced his White House bid, the highest first-day number reported by any candidate so far, his campaign said Monday.

The “record-breaking” $6.1 million came “without a dime” from political action committees, corporations or special interests, O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans tweeted.

The $6.1 million is just above what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reported for his first day as a candidate.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, jumped into the 2020 presidential race on Thursday after months of speculation, shaking up the already packed Democratic field and pledging to win over voters from across the political spectrum.

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O’Rourke raised an eye-popping $80 million in grass-roots donations last year in his failed U.S. Senate race in Texas against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, all while largely avoiding money from PACs. His early fundraising numbers in the presidential contest will be seen as an initial signal of whether his popularity during the Senate campaign will carry over to his White House bid.

The new figures set O’Rourke and Sanders apart from the rest of the Democratic field in launch-day fundraising. California Sen. Kamala Harris reported raising $1.5 million in the 24 hours after she launched her campaign in January. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar reported raising $1 million in the 48 hours after launching her campaign in February.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said three days after starting his presidential campaign this month that he had raised more than $1 million, a notable haul for a governor less widely known than many of his competitors in a field dominated by senators.

Sanders has set the pace for 2020 grass-roots donations. Aided by the $6 million he pulled in on his first day as a candidate, he took in more than $10 million in the first week, overwhelmingly from small donors.

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O’Rourke, asked last week if he thought he would top Sanders, said only, “We’ll see.”


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