Elections 2020FederalBeto O’Rourke and Julián Castro Struggle to Secure Spot in November Debate as Fundraising Lags

The dismal third-quarter fundraising numbers for both O'Rourke and Castro will do little to improve either candidate's prospects in the Democratic primary.
October 16, 2019
Last night, a dozen Democratic presidential candidates convened in Ohio for what may turn out to be the final inflection point for those seeking the presidential nomination. With the third quarter of fundraising coming to a close and polling separating a handful of candidates above all the rest, the fourth debate was likely a final opportunity for some candidates to make an impression with potential voters.

For the two Texas candidates, Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro, Tuesday’s audition on the debate stage was an opportunity to alter the money and low polling issues that have been plaguing their candidacies since the beginning. 

According to Axios, neither candidate has qualified for the November debate yet.

Utilizing the Friday, late-afternoon news dump, former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced he pulled in $4.5 million this past quarter — less than half what he brought in during the first quarter after he first announced. This amount is less than both businessman Andrew Yang’s and Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) third-quarter totals.

O’Rourke is left with only $3.2 million cash on hand going forward.

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His Texas counterpart, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, did not announce his haul like most other campaigns. Instead, the report was quietly posted on the Federal Elections Commission website and revealed just under $3.5 million in contributions.

That’s about a 25 percent increase from his second-quarter haul. 

Castro’s cash-on-hand at the close of this quarter sits at just over $1.1 million.

For comparison, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a third-quarter haul of nearly $26 million. And perceived frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) raised nearly $25 million last quarter.

Neither O’Rourke nor Castro are polling above three percent in the RealClearPolitics average — with Castro struggling to break even one percent.

O’Rourke said yesterday he “cannot fathom” running for public office again in the likely circumstance he fails to win this nomination. 

However, he also said during his 2018 Senate race that he would not run for president in 2020.

Barring some unforeseen turnaround, the pair of Texans remain in the bottom tier of contenders and look unlikely to break out.  


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.