2020 Presidential Race

O'Rourke raises $3.6 million in second quarter

The former congressman from El Paso burned through much more money than he raised in the second quarter, spending $5.3 million. That left him with $5.2 million in the bank.

Presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks to supporters at a rally in Austin.

2020 Presidential Race

We're tracking the Texas stories in the presidential contest, from the Texans in the race to all candidates' efforts to reach voters and raise money in the state. We've also compiled stories from our archives related to Texans running for president.

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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke raised over $3.6 million during the last three months, a disappointing figure after he entered the race with high expectations in mid-March.

He quickly emerged as one of the field's top fundraisers, hauling in $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his candidacy and $9.4 million in the first 18 days. Since then, though, the former El Paso congressman has slid to low single digits in most polls, and his fundraising appears to have followed suit.

O'Rourke's filing with the Federal Election Commission shows he burned through much more money than he raised in the second quarter, spending $5.3 million. That left him with $5.2 million in the bank.

On Monday night, O'Rourke campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon sought to reassure supporters in a memo that emphasized O'Rourke has raised $13 million to date.

"When you look at our fundraising in aggregate, we’re in a great position," O'Malley Dillon wrote. "I won’t sugar coat it: we have work to do, but we have the resources we need to execute our strategy."

She stressed the campaign was growing "on our own terms" and compared O'Rourke's fundraising to what it was at this point in his underdog bid for U.S. Senate last year in Texas. But his second-quarter total no doubt separates him from the rivals he was once thought to be in competition with — contenders whose latest hauls went well above $10 million.

O'Rourke's second-quarter tally puts him more in the league of fellow Texan Julián Castro, who has lingered in O'Rourke's shadow for much of the primary until recently. Castro, the former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, raised $2.8 million during the latest period.

O'Rourke's campaign said his second-quarter haul came from 119,888 contributions, with an average size of $30. Ninety-eight percent of the donations were less than $200.

And O'Rourke has accrued nearly 200,000 contributors to date, meaning he will not have to sweat the 130,000-donor threshold that is one of the requirements to make the fall debate stage.

While his national finance director did not start until recently — something O’Malley Dillon pointed out — O’Rourke certainly made an effort in the second quarter. He held several fundraisers where large checks were solicited, the kind of events he initially said he did not plan to do.

Monday was the deadline for campaigns to report their second-quarter finances to the Federal Election Commission.