Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) shook up the Democrats’ presidential primary last week when he officially jumped in the race, but some questioned whether O’Rourke was receiving outsized attention from the media that was disproportionate to his actual grassroots backing.
Those doubters were largely silenced Monday when O’Rourke’s campaign announced he raised $6.1 million on his first day in the race. The massive haul marks the largest first-day fundraising total for any candidate, as well as the largest single-day total thus far. Sen Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign raised $5.9 million last month on his first day in the race.
O’Rourke’s opening weekend on the campaign trail was far from flawless, however. Politico’s David Siders noted that O’Rourke was “wobbling on policy, offending women with a joke about child care, frustrating local Democrats with his high-handedness and picking bewildering fights with the press.”
Still, none of those perceived stumbles stopped supporters from “tuffing themselves into coffee shops and living rooms across the Midwest to see the Democratic sensation as he motors east from Iowa to New Hampshire in a Dodge Grand Caravan.”
Now that O’Rourke has established that he is still able to tap into his fundraising dominance from his failed 2018 Senate campaign, he’ll soon face another test: maintaining that advantage. Sanders’ campaign announced that the Vermont senator raised $10 million in the first week. O’Rourke is well on his way to that mark, but some Democrats are already looking for signs of weakness in the O’Rourke candidacy.
Should he fall short, expect those critics to point it out, and loudly.
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Author: Jeff Bechdel
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