Beto O’Rourke breaks fundraising records in 2020 race, beating Bernie Sanders

Chris Riotta
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Beto O’Rourke breaks fundraising records in 2020 race, beating Bernie Sanders

Beto O’Rourke has set a new fundraising record for Democrats hoping to take on Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, raising $6.1m (£4.6m) in just 24 hours.

The Texas Democrat has bested Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator also vying for the White House, who previously set the record with his $5.9m (£4.5m) haul after launching his campaign in February.

In a statement sent to The Independent on Monday, Mr O’Rourke celebrated the fundraising haul and the grassroots nature of his campaign “by all of us for all of us”.

“In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president,” he said. “A campaign by all of us for all of us that answers not to the PACs, corporations and special interests but to the people.”

When asked about the total individual contributions the campaign received from across the country, spokesperson Rob Friedlander responded to The Independent in an email saying: “We have already released the fundraising numbers we will be putting out.”

The contributions were all made online “without a dime” from corporations or super PACs, according to a tweet posted by Chris Evans, the communications director for Mr O’Rourke’s campaign.

Mr O’Rourke’s recordbreaking entrance into the 2020 primaries follows his long-shot attempt to unseat Ted Cruz in the deeply-red Lone Star state, in which he also proved to be a fundraising juggernaut despite ultimately losing to the incumbent Republican.

The former congressman broke records for the largest fundraising quarter ever in a US senatorial campaign, totalling more than $38.1m (£28.8m) in the final quarter of his race.

Mr O’Rourke kicked off his campaign with a video featuring his wife, Amy, as the two announced his decision to run for the Oval Office in 2020. He then visited several campaign stops on Thursday across Iowa.

Mr O’Rourke and Mr Sanders aren’t the only Democrats capturing attention from voters this early on in the election cycle. California senator Kamala Harris also enjoyed a large fundraising haul after launching her candidacy in front of a massive crowd in Oakland, raising $1.5m (£1.1m). She has also vowed not to take any money from corporations or super PACs (an organisation that can receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and labour unions).

Campaign finance experts have noted the prevalent challenges female candidates, particularly minority female candidates, face in fundraising compared to white male candidates.

Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay male mayor from South Bend, Indiana, has announced his 2020 presidential campaign secured over 76,000 donations since launching, which is 10,000 more than the required amount in order to be invited to the first Democratic primary debate.