O’Rourke raises over $25 million from July through late September, outraising Abbott again

Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto ORourke speaks to a packed auditorium during a stop on his Beto for Texas College Tour campaign at Texas State University in San Marcos on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (Eli Hartman For The Texas Tribune, Eli Hartman For The Texas Tribune)

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Democratic gubernatorial challenger Beto O’Rourke raised over $25 million from July through late September, and Republican incumbent Greg Abbott raised just less than that, according to figures released Tuesday by both campaigns.

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It marked the second consecutive period in which O’Rourke outraised Abbott. O’Rourke’s campaign said he collected $25.18 million during the latest period, covering July 1 through Sept. 29, while Abbott’s campaign said he got nearly $25 million.

Neither campaign released its latest cash-on-hand figures. Abbott had a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in cash at the end of June, with $45.7 million saved up to $23.9 million for O’Rourke.

The campaigns announced their latest fundraising numbers Tuesday ahead of an end-of-the-day deadline to report them to the Texas Ethics Commission.

O’Rourke’s haul proved again why he is a formidable challenger to Abbott, even as the governor continues to lead in polling. O’Rourke raised $27.6 million during the previous period, not only outraising Abbott by $2.7 million but also setting a new record for fundraising in state-level politics.

O’Rourke’s campaign said his latest haul came from almost half a million contributions, and the average contribution size was $53. Nearly all of his 474,876 donations — 98% — were received online.

Abbott’s campaign said his summer fundraising came from “nearly 45,000 contributors, and 81% of all the money came from within Texas.”

Polls continue to give Abbott a lead over O’Rourke in the mid-single digits. But O’Rourke is betting on voter anger over the state's new abortion ban and Abbott's inaction on gun control after the Uvalde school shooting. He is also hopeful a superior ground game will make the difference.

“I’m grateful for everyone who helped raise $25.18 million in just three months as we support the work of our organizers and record-breaking 100,000 volunteers,” O'Rourke said in a statement.

Abbott’s campaign highlighted his in-state financial support.

“Governor Abbott’s campaign is proud that the vast majority of his support comes from within Texas and not from out of state liberals like George Soros or from shady dark money groups hiding their donors from public disclosure,” Abbott campaign chair Gardner Pate said in a statement.

With less than a month to the election, both campaigns are in heavy spending mode, dumping millions of dollars on TV ads statewide. O’Rourke's latest ad is about his promise to expand Medicaid and features a trauma surgeon lamenting the state of health care in Texas under Abbott.

O’Rourke is also getting help on the air from Coulda Been Worse LLC, a dark-money group that has aired commercials attacking Abbott, as well as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton. O’Rourke has said the group should disclose its donors.

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