Beto O’Rourke is raising lots of money in his quest to become the next U.S. senator from Texas.
Campaign finance records show that O’Rourke raised $38 million for the third quarter of 2018, a record for a Senate contest. His opponent, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz? About $12 million.
Here’s the question of the day: Will this prodigious fundraising by th Democratic challenger translate to votes in the fall? If it does, O’Rourke would become the first politician elected to a statewide office in Texas since 1994.
The Texas Tribune reported: “The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there’s no stopping us,” O’Rourke said in a statement.
I remain — much to my chagrin — skeptical at this moment that O’Rourke’s cache of cash is going to put him over the top. I keep seeing public opinion polls that put Cruz up by 4 to 6 percentage points. In a state as large as Texas, with its estimated 15 million registered voters, that remains a steep hill to climb, especially in Texas with its long-held tradition of electing candidates purely on the basis of their Republican Party affiliation.
I’ll stipulate once again that I intend to vote for O’Rourke on Nov. 6. I don’t want the Cruz Missile re-elected. I no longer want him representing my state. I am not a native Texan, but by God I’ve lived in the state long enough — more than 34 years — to declare my Texanhood.
My wife and I, after all, chose to live in Texas way back in 1984.
I do remain a bit dubious of candidates’ boasting of the amount of money they raise. O’Rourke is proud, as he declares, that the vast bulk of his campaign cash comes from individual donors. That’s highly commendable. Is it enough to put this young man over the top and into the Senate seat now occupied by Cruz?
What I don’t hear about is the so-called “ground game” that successful candidates deploy to win elections. A candidate with tons of dough need to invest that money in hiring individuals and groups of individuals to do the important work that needs doing, such as targeting the precincts where they see the greatest advantage.
Oh, and getting out the vote. Manning phone banks. Making calls constantly to Texans in those targeted precincts, encouraging them to get off their duffs to be sure to vote.
My hope is that Beto O’Rourke spends his money wisely and effectively, understanding full well that it shouldn’t burn a hole in his proverbial pocket.