Texas Democrat Robert “Beto” O’Rourke failed to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s midterm election but it was not without strong financial support to the El Paso congressman’s campaign.
The Senate race may well be remembered for the record money that poured in but particularly for O’Rourke’s bid for an upset victory in a red state. O’Rourke, who did not accept political action money, raised a record $70.2 million compared to Cruz’s $40 million, which included PAC money.
Cruz prevailed over O’Rourke, 50.9 percent to 48.3 percent. Cruz, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012, received nearly 220,000 more votes.
O’Rourke’s contribution amounts were limited to $2,700. Cruz’s funds were sourced from several committees, including two PACs. One of them could receive up to $5,000 in a single donation. Much more of O’Rourke’s funds came from contributions of less than $200 than Cruz’s, and both candidates raised money from out-of-state donors.
O’Rourke’s sought a more grassroots approach in an effort to limit the influence of special interests. He ultimately set a record of $38.1 million — the largest amount for a quarter by a Senate candidate.
On his Twitter account, O’Rourke noted that those funds came from over 800,000 individual contributions.
You just raised a record-breaking $38.1 million in three months. From 802,836 contributions. No PACs, no special interests, no corporations. All people, all the time, everywhere, every single day. pic.twitter.com/IDMFNFwezB
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 12, 2018
In the same period, Cruz reported bringing in $12 million.
The previous record was $22 million set by New York Republican Rick Lazio in his 2000 Senate race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Overall, the midterms were clearly the most expensive midterm on record, as the Center for Responsive Politics estimated $5.2 billion was spent, which was a 35 percent increase from 2014.