O'Rourke raises $2M in first 24 hours of Texas governor campaign

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) raised more than $2 million in the 24 hours after he announced his challenge Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottAll hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor Florida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Russia have face-to-face sit down MORE (R), his campaign said on Wednesday.

The one-day haul — the largest of any statewide midterm campaign in Texas history, according to O’Rourke’s campaign — is an early sign that the former presidential candidate remains a formidable fundraising force more than three years after his high-profile yet ultimately unsuccessful campaign to oust Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzAll hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Equilibrium/Sustainability — Bald eagle comeback impacted by lead poison MORE (R-Texas).

To be sure, he’ll need to continue raising money at a breakneck pace if he hopes to catch up with Abbott. The incumbent governor has some $55 million in the bank heading into his 2022 reelection bid.

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But O’Rourke has a proven ability to raise money. Over the course of his 2018 Senate campaign, he brought in more than $80 million. In the first 24 hours of his unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he raised more than $6 million. 

O’Rourke launched his campaign for governor on Monday after months of urging from Democratic leaders. He’s the first high-profile Democrat to jump into the Texas governor’s race.

But beating Abbott is likely to prove difficult, even for a well-known, well-funded challenger like O’Rourke. 

Despite signs that Texas isn’t as solidly Republican as it has been for decades, Democrats have fallen short there in recent elections. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE carried the state by 6 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, and Democrats saw their hopes of flipping control of the state House dashed. 

In a more recent loss for Democrats, Republican John Lujan flipped a Texas state House seat in Democratic-leaning San Antonio earlier this month, raising further concerns among party officials about their strength among Hispanic voters in the Lone Star State.