2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke rakes in record $6.1 million on Day 1

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, 46, holds up a “Iowa For Beto” screen-printed shirt at Raygun clothing store during a three day road trip across Iowa, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in this March 15, 2019 file photo. — Reuters

WASHINGTON — Democrat Beto O’Rourke raised more than $6.1 million in the first day after declaring his candidacy for his party’s 2020 presidential nomination last week, his campaign said on Monday, highlighting his fundraising prowess in a crowded field.

His fundraising puts him at the top of a Democratic pack of more than a dozen candidates including Bernie Sanders, the independent US senator who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2016. Sanders raised $5.9 million in the first 24 hours of his 2020 campaign.

O’Rourke kicked off his presidential campaign on Thursday in a video on social media and joined a Democratic field that includes a number of veteran US lawmakers.

The former congressman from Texas raised a record $38.1 million in one quarter, out of a total $80 million, for his failed 2018 effort to unseat Republican US Senator Ted Cruz, more than in any other US Senate race and more than three times what Cruz raised.

Sanders’ campaign held the previous one-day record for the Democrats’ 2020 contest and has said he raised about $10 million by the end of his campaign’s first week.

In contrast, some other Democrats reported raising much smaller initial totals. US Senator Amy Klobuchar reported raising more than $1 million in her campaign’s first 48 hours, while Washington Governor Jay Inslee reported more than $1 million three days after entering the race.

Democrats have sworn off big money in their challenge to Republican US President Donald Trump, who began his re-election campaign this year with $19.2 million in cash.

Contributions for O’Rourke raised online came “without a dime from PACs, corporations or special interests, he received contributions from every state and territory in the nation,” his campaign said in a statement.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first Democratic candidate to formally reject traditional means of campaign funding, saying she would not hold political fundraising events with pricey admission fees.

All candidates next month must disclose how much money they raised in the first quarter. — Reuters