Between people like Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bernie Sanders, there have been plenty of high profile Democratic politicians who have entered the 2020 race for president. But Beto O’Rourke has had the most impressive fundraising haul during his first 24 hours in the race as he raised $6.1 million in one day.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that the former Congressman raised a significant amount of money as he has a history of raising enormous sums of money. He raised so much money during the third quarter of 2018, after all, that he actually received a fair amount of attention for refusing to give some of his $38 million haul to other Congressional candidates. It was then that a lot of people actually really started thinking he might run for president, even if he didn’t defeat Ted Cruz (which he didn’t).
That being said, it is somewhat surprising that he was able to take in the largest sum — even more than the $5.9 million Bernie Sanders raised during the first day of his 2020 campaign and about four times higher than the next highest total. As one liberal activist from Northern Virginia said on Facebook this morning, “I get how Bernie raised so much money because he already had campaign infrastructure and tons of supporters, but nobody really even knows why Beto is running.”
To put it into context, O’Rourke’s one day total is more than the $4.2 million Mike Huckabee raised during his entire 2016 campaign and almost as much as Chris Christie’s $8.6 million. But what a lot of Virginia activists are noticing is that these hauls are coming at a time when candidates for state and local offices here are struggling to gain traction and put up solid fundraising numbers even though they’re on the ballot this year.
Delegate Danica Roem, for instance, received a lot of attention when she used a Westboro Baptist Church protest against her existence as a trans woman to raise some money for her campaign. She was rightfully excited about the money coming in and will no doubt put it to good use this year, but the totals she tweeted show it was $36,046 over an 11 day period (though more has probably come in since).
If Delegate Roem is getting excited over tens of thousands of dollars, imagine what just a fraction of what the 2020 candidates are raising could do for the state and local candidates on the ballot here in Virginia this year. With control of both chambers of the General Assembly up for grabs and crucial seats on county boards up for election, the Democratic candidates for president need to use their influence to draw attention and fundraising dollars to Virginia. There are plenty of strong candidates who deserve the help.