Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks at a campaign rally in Austin, Texas.
Through the first half of 2018, O'Rourke had already raised an impressive $23.6 million for the cycle and had almost $14 million in cash on hand for the campaign's home stretch.
O'Rourke has nonetheless attracted attention throughout Texas and beyond with an energetic campaign that has taken him to all of the state's 254 counties - even deep red areas Democrats gave up on decades ago - and for a background that includes a stint with a punk rock band. It came hours after O'Rourke announced raising a record $38.1 million over the last three months, tripling Cruz's total.
But O'Rourke's good news comes amid polls that have begun to show him trailing Cruz by about 10 points after closing to within striking distance earlier in the race. In a press release announcing the haul, O'Rourke's campaign said that they're launching a "weekend of action" in which they intend to knock on 102,733 doors and make 102,733 phone calls. But being so flush allows O'Rourke to add staffers and try to motivate low-frequency voters in Texas, which traditionally has one of the lowest turnout rates in the nation.
"And we more than doubled our budget from the 2016 cycle for 2018", she tweeted. Another pointed out that former President Barack Obama had raised $23.5 in the final quarter before the 2008 primary season kicked off.
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The Democratic congressman from El Paso said his money came from individual contributions - more than 800,000 of them - mostly from Texas. And it shows the collective power of many relatively modest donations.
Nevertheless, Cruz maintains a lead over O'Rourke in recent polls, with a new Quinnipiac University poll finding Cruz ahead by nine percentage points. Still others pointed out that money, even vast sums, does not necessarily translate to wins - a prime example being Democrat Jon Ossoff's failed 2017 special election bid for a Georgia House seat, which was the most expensive House race ever.
Neither campaign has disclosed how much cash on hand it has with less than a month until Election Day. Bob Krueger, who left office in 1994, was the last Democrat to hold the seat and the last Democrat to win a statewide office in Texas.
"If this Senate race doesn't work out, there's one in #2020 that might be of interest.", tweeted NPR politics editor Domenico Montenaro. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott; more than $50 million had been raised through the second quarter.