WASHINGTON – Beto O'Rourke raised more than $ 6 million online in the first 24 hours after announcing his presidential campaign last week, according to his campaign, outpacing his rivals for Democratic nomination and making an emphatic statement about his grass-roots financial strength.
Mr. O'Rourke brought in $ 6,136,736 after declaring his long-anticipated bid with a web video and trip to Iowa on Thursday morning, raising the total online and from all 50 states, the campaign said.
He narrowly beat the first day Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who raised $ 5.9 million after announcing his bid last month and who would go on to raise $ 1
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Mr. O'Rourke's early burst of fund-raising illustrates how much he has captured the imagination of many Democratic activists around the country, who propelled him to break financial records last year in his ultimate losing bid to defeat Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. There were some doubts as to whether those same grass-roots donors would also contribute to him when he was not facing Mr. Cruz – he was detested on the left – but was one more entrant in a sprawling presidential primary.
Mr. O'Rourke's money will, at least for now, be quiet some of those skeptics: In a single day online, he raised nearly a quarter of what Barack Obama, then a senator, did in the first quarter of 2007.
Now the question is whether he can sustain that level of support. Mr. Sanders raised his first $ 10 million in February, much of it in small contributions. There is no way to independently confirm either the candidate's initial contributions; Mr. O'Rourke, Mr. Sanders and the rest of the presidential hopefuls must file fund-raising reports at the end of March. These first-quarter filings will be made public on April 15.
Few other candidates trumpeted their initial financial success, partly because they knew that Mr. Sanders would tap into his loyal network of support from his 2016 presidential race and post a big figure. The campaign of Senator Kamala Harris of California, however, said she raised $ 1.5 million in the first day after announcing her candidacy in January
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Mr. O'Rourke's aides would not say what their average contribution was or how many donors contributed within the first 24 hours of his bid. As in his Senate race, he did not accept any money from the political action committees.
After announcing his candidacy, Mr. O'Rourke spent three days in Iowa, focusing on the county presidents Trump carried in 2016, before heading to Wisconsin, part of a multistate Midwestern tour