Beto O'Rourke fundraising drops in 2nd quarter

The Harder They Come the Harder They Fall: Beto O’Rourke Campaign Reportedly Going Broke

The Harder They Come the Harder They Fall: Beto O’Rourke Campaign Reportedly Going Broke

Beto O'Rourke raised just $3.6 million for his presidential campaign in the second quarter, a dramatic drop in fundraising that underscores his campaign's struggle to gain traction.

The former Texas congressman entered the race with a glowing cover story in Vanity Fair and the expectation that he would be a formidable contender.

It's the latest sign that two distinct tiers are emerging in the primary: one that will have ample resources to build a national operation and get its message out and another forced to make hard financial decisions and triage limited cash.

"I won't sugarcoat it: We have work to do, but we have the resources we need to execute our strategy", said Jen O'Malley Dillon, O'Rourke's campaign manager, in an email to Politico. "Sometimes you're Hootie and sometimes you're the Blowfish".

Some big fundraising hauls by Democrats are easing worries that lackluster totals last quarter were a sign the party would struggle to stockpile cash for the general election fight with President Donald Trump.

Pete Buttigieg led the field of Democratic White House hopefuls with $24.8 million, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised $21.5 million. Elizabeth Warren at $19.2 million, Vermont Sen.

Sanders outspent the rest of the Democratic field over the three-month period, spending roughly $14 million - including $3 million directed to salaries. O'Rourke spent $5.3 million in the second quarter, leaving him with $5.2 million in the bank.

But the outlook is grim for many others. Tulsi Gabbard all spent more last quarter than they brought in. Others were essentially treading water. Ted Cruz, in which he proved to be a fundraising juggernaut.

The Minnesota senator announced the fundraising total for April through June on Monday when all campaigns must report them. "His campaign may be in trouble", she said.

Top-tier contenders have raised gobs of money.

That's a hard task in a field that has drawn more than 20 candidates.

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also spent more than he raised, bringing in $1.2 million but spending $1.7 million during the same time. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee improved his numbers but still pulled in only about $3 million.

But O'Rourke turned in a listless first Democratic debate in June, in which he was attacked by fellow Texan Julián Castro and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio but did not respond forcefully. But his $2.8 million still puts him toward the back of the pack.

Some freshman Democrats in Congress are raising substantial sums, newly filed campaign reports show. But Klobuchar, who raised almost $4 million, and Booker, who raised just a little more, performed worse than they did during the first quarter.

Booker is closing in on that 130,000-donor mark. The crowded nominating contest will require candidates to spend millions of dollars to be competitive. He's already using the money to build a ground force of more than 250 staffers in early voting states.

Those three, as well as Sanders and Biden, all raised more than $10 million in the second quarter.

But those who build out their network of small-dollar donors aren't just capable of raising money - they are winning over the same party activists needed to turn out the vote, organize and proselytize, said Robert Zimmerman, a donor and Democratic National Committeeman from NY. "But small-dollar donors and grassroots supporters, they build the campaign".

"Not too many top donors from Bel Air, Manhattan, Scottsdale and Palm Beach are going to be knocking on doors through the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire", he said.