O’Rourke’s bid to unseat the Republican senator has always been a long shot. But the 45-year-old third-term congressman is drawing national attention for his dogged campaign. “Can a guy who looks like a Kennedy, and often sounds like one, too, win a statewide election in Texas?” Town and Country recently wondered. According to Cook Political Report, the answer is “maybe.” On Friday morning, it shifted O’Rourke’s race against Cruz from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.” As Cook notes, O’Rourke has shown remarkable fundraising prowess:
O’Rourke has also proven to be a very adept fundraiser. As of June 30, he had $23.8 million receipts for cycle, including $10.4 million in the 2nd quarter; 41 percent of the 2nd quarter receipts were in contributions of less than $200. After spending almost $4.5 million last quarter, he finished with $13,961,359 in the bank. O’Rourke doesn’t accept contributions from PACs and has asked super PACs to stay out of the race. By contrast, Cruz had $23.7 million in receipts for the cycle, including almost $4.1 million in the second quarter. The campaign spent $2 million in the second, posting a cash-on-hand total of $9,299,366 as of June 30.
The Democrat also made it a point to visit every Texas county ahead of the general election in November. That punishing schedule is likely part of the reason that the race is competitive. A Wednesday poll showed him within two points of Cruz.