If there is one thing that Beto O’Rourke proved while challenging Ted Cruz for his Senate seat last year, it’s that the El Paso native is able to haul in the dough. Having raised $80 million for his Senate campaign, observers have wondered whether any of that fundraising prowess would translate to a possible 2020 Presidential campaign. Having sat on the numbers for a couple of days, we finally have the answer and it looks like Beto has won the day-one fundraising total, even topping Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ impressive $5.9 million take.
NBC News reports on the early 2020 fundraising numbers of the declared candidates:
O’Rourke’s campaign announced Monday that he had taken in $6,136,763 in online contributions in the day after declaring his candidacy Thursday morning.
“In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us, for all of us, that answers not to the PACs, corporations, and special interests but to the people,” O’Rourke, who has sworn off PAC donations of any kind, said in a statement.
For comparison’s sake, here are the numbers for some of the other major candidates on their first full day after entering the 2020 campaign:
Bernie Sanders – $5.9 million
Kamala Harris – $1.5 million
Amy Klobuchar – $1 million
John Hickenlooper – $1 million
Jay Inslee – $1 million (over 72 hours)
Elizabeth Warren – $300,000 (on New Year’s Eve announcement)
Candidates won’t be required to disclose any numbers until the end of the First Quarter of 2019 so expect some numbers next month from the entire field.
Beto, from all appearances, did what he needed to do in making a splash to enter the race. If his numbers were closer to the low end, it would appear that he wouldn’t be able to hold together the same coalition of donors that propped him up during his Senate run.
Having a national donor base and national name recognition makes him a more serious contender even if only for the financial advantage alone. Sometimes campaigns fizzle out in the primary simply due to lack of funding since it costs a fortune to maintain a presence in all the important early states. If money isn’t an issue, campaigns can continue and sometimes catch a break if another candidate falters.
$6.1 million was enough to beat Bernie’s single day $5.9 million, but as the New York Times reports, what about the coming days and weeks?
He narrowly beat the first-day haul of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who raised $5.9 million after announcing his bid last month and who would go on to raise $10 million before his first week was over.
Bernie went on to raise $10 million by the end of his first week. Will Beto’s fundraising continue with the same intensity or even greater intensity? Watch the numbers in the coming weeks.
Biden seems to be strategically pushing off his announcement until after the start of the Second Quarter on April 1. His goal will be to publish some major fundraising numbers allowing for nearly a full 3 months of campaigning. Ultimately, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and while single-day fundraising makes a great headline, the question is whether it can endure for the next 595 days.
Beto Barnstorms Iowa
Beto took the weekend to begin touring Iowa and speaking with voters. It didn’t take long, however, for his first campaign screw-up with a joke about his parenting that landed flat with some groups, as Axios reports:
In Iowa, O’Rourke was criticized for joking that his wife raises their kids, “sometimes with my help.” He later apologized: “Not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage, and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege.”
The political landscape in 2019 is littered with landmines and thoughts or jokes that might’ve been played for a laugh in prior cycles are being taken much more seriously today. O’Rourke’s joke about his wife shouldering the load of child-rearing is a joke that’s been made a thousand times over by other politicians, but this time, it struck the wrong notes given the hypersensitivity being afforded to issues of gender equality within the 2020 Democratic primary field.
Just wait until Joe Biden really gets into the swing of things and Beto’s joke probably wouldn’t have even made news.