Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) must have been feeling pretty good standing on stage at Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas last week. Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, ex-Fox News anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle, were there supporting the Texas senator for their fifth campaign stop in a row. And Cruz had good news to share: his campaign had just broken a record for fundraising in a Texas Senate race. “Together we raised in the third quarter over $12 million,” Cruz told supporters gathered in the center’s Bluebonnet ballroom.
Cruz had a full eight days to savor that feeling before finding out that his opponent, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) raised more than three times that figure. The O’Rourke campaign announced Friday morning it received donations in the amount of $38.1 million in the third quarter — the most raised in a single quarter by any Senate candidate in history.
The haul, which the campaign said came from 802,836 people, most of them Texans, brings his total to $61.4 million. O’Rourke, who swore off PAC money when he began his campaign in March 2017, has outraised Cruz in every reporting period. This, despite the fact that Cruz was cited by the FEC three times over the course of the campaign — three times as many as any other senator running for reelection this year.
According to the Houston Chronicle, one of the complaints was based on the fact that the Cruz accepted tens of thousands of dollars more than legally allowed from some 31 donors. A separate Cruz donor complained to the FEC that she couldn’t get the campaign to stop automatically deducting a donation from her bank account every month.
In a statement released by his campaign, O’Rourke said the numbers showed his campaign’s hopeful message was resonating with voters in the traditionally safe red state. “The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there’s no stopping us,” O’Rourke said. “This is a historic campaign of people: all people, all the time, everywhere, every single day — that’s how we’re going to win this election and do something incredible for Texas and our country at this critical moment.”
His optimism, though, stands in stark contrast to the picture painted by a poll of the race released the day before. According to the Quinnipiac University survey, conducted in the first week of October, O’Rourke is trailing Cruz by nine points: 45 percent of voters said they back the Congressman, compared to Cruz’s 54. The margin of error was 4.4 percent.
The O’Rourke campaign, which claims to have built the largest field operation in Texas history, is hoping to improve those numbers with an aggressive get out the vote push. They plan to knock on 100,000 doors and make 100,000 phone calls this weekend alone.