Beto O’Rourke says he raised $6.1 million online in first 24 hours

Beto O’Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a packed St. Patrick’s Day party at the home of County Recorder John Murphy March 16, 2019 in Iowa. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke raised more than $6 million online during the first 24 hours after he announced his White House bid, the highest 24-hour number reported by any candidate, his campaign said Monday.

The “record-breaking” $6.1 million came “without a dime” from political action committees, corporations or special interests, O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans tweeted.

The $6.1 million is just above what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reported for his first day as a candidate.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, jumped into the 2020 presidential race on Thursday after months of speculation, shaking up the already packed Democratic field and pledging to win over voters from across the political spectrum.

O’Rourke raised an eye-popping $80 million in grassroots donations last year in his failed U.S. Senate race in Texas against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, all while largely avoiding money from PACs. His early fundraising numbers in the presidential contest will be seen as an initial signal of whether his popularity during the Senate campaign will carry over to his White House bid.

The new figures set O’Rourke and Sanders apart from the rest of the Democratic field in launch-day fundraising. California Sen. Kamala Harris reported raising $1.5 million in the 24 hours after she launched her campaign in January. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar reported raising $1 million in the 48 hours after launching her campaign in February.

Asked last week if he thought he would top Sanders, O’Rourke said only, “We’ll see.”

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