In the first 24 hours after announcing his campaign on Thursday, March 14, Beto O’Rourke raised $6.1 million in online contributions, The Hill reports. His fundraising, passing the $6 million mark, just edges out the $5.9 million raised by Bernie Sanders on his first day running. Thus far, the two lead the (very, very crowded) pack in terms of first-day funds.
Strangely enough, O’Rourke’s flip-flopped a bit on whether to reveal these figures, much like the kid in class who only shares their test scores when they get an A. An O’Rourke campaign email reportedly touted the importance of the first-day fundraising, saying it would “set the tone in the national conversation about the viability of our campaign.” He then reversed his position, saying that he would not share the figures.
“In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president—a campaign by all of us, for all of us, that answers not to the PACs, corporations and special interests but to the people,” a statement from O’Rourke’s campaign read, as per The Hill.
“Right now, we’re ruling out taking any PAC money, any lobbyist money, ever,” the Texan candidate told reporters on Saturday, according to The Hill. “I have no large-dollar fundraisers planned and I don’t plan to do them.”
Interestingly, though, O’Rourke only shared the topline fundraising number, as NBC reports, whereas his fellow candidates have shared more details, including “number of donors and news donors, the size of the average contribution, the geographical diversity of contributors, and how much money he’s raised since the first day.” O’Rourke can celebrate his campaign as a “grassroots” success all he wants, but more information is necessary for his claims to hold water.
As for actual substance, O’Rourke’s policy stances are some of the most conservative in the Democratic field. This revelation about his fundraising shows that plenty of Americans are perfectly happy to judge this tall, shiny book by its cover.