Last Friday we reported that Texas Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke raised over $38 million in the most recent quarter in his campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. These eye-popping fundraising numbers got the attention of the political world, including Democratic operatives and candidates in other states.
Then The New York Times reported that O’Rourke’s massive fundraising success is now creating tension within the Democratic Party. It’s not just jealousy either: many Democrats now are saying that O’Rourke should share his fundraising largess with Democratic senate candidates in other states who are in close races.
In fact, there is a consensus that several Democratic senate candidates are in better positions to win election to the senate than is O’Rourke.
So yesterday O’Rourke caused a bit more controversy when he said that he has no plans to share the $38 million with other Senate Democratic candidates.
“No,” O’Rourke told a reporter who asked if he would share the funds with candidates in tighter races.
“I’m focused on Texas. Most of our contributions have come from Texas. All of them have come from people. Not a dime from PACs,” he said. He then added that he money has come from over 800,000 individual contributions.
O’Rourke also explained that by spending his campaign money in his own Texas race he is “honoring the commitment that those who’ve contributed to this campaign have made to me.”
“If they want to contribute to someone else, they should do so. If they want to contribute to a campaign that’s going to win this historic victory for Texas and the country, then I’m grateful for the contribution and I’m going to make the most of it, so that’s what we’re focused on,” the charismatic young Congressman added.
A later statement from a spokesman for O’Rourke’s campaign confirmed that O’Rourke doesn’t plan to share the funds.
“This election has always been about Texas and delivering for each one of the 254 counties that we’ve visited over the last 18 months,” the spokesman said.
“This money is going to give us the resources we need to finish this campaign as strong as we possibly can,” O’Rourke said last week. “We are doing something absolutely historic.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.