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Beto O'Rourke raises $6.1 million on first day, topping Sanders and all other rivals

The Texas Democrat, who built an impressive fundraising operation last year against Ted Cruz, has sworn off all PAC donations.
Image: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke an overflow audience at Yock's Landing during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks to an overflow audience at Yock's Landing on Friday in Mount Vernon, Iowa.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Beto O'Rourke raised $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, according to his campaign, surpassing Bernie Sanders and every other 2020 Democrat who has disclosed their figures.

O'Rourke's campaign announced Monday that he had taken in $6,136,763 in online contributions in the day after declaring his candidacy Thursday morning.

"In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us, for all of us, that answers not to the PACs, corporations, and special interests but to the people," O’Rourke, who has sworn off PAC donations of any kind, said in a statement.

That's a strong showing for the former Texas congressman who lost a Senate race last year to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, while setting a new fundraising record.

Sanders beat expectations and stunned observers by raising a then-record-setting $5.9 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate last month.

Among other Democratic candidates, Sen. Kamala Harris of California collected $1.5 million, which was seen as an impressive haul. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota raised $1 million in 48 hours, as did former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. It took Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington 72 hours to raise more than $1 million, but that still surpassed expectations.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts raised at least $300,000 on New Year's Eve, her first partial day in the race, according to filings from the online donation clearinghouse ActBlue. But her campaign declined to disclose their complete one-day fundraising picture.

The other Democratic candidates in the crowded field have not released their one-day hauls and are not required to disclose anything about their finances until the end of this month, when they make their first disclosure to the Federal Election Commission and the public.

O'Rourke's campaign provided only the topline fundraising number, not more detailed information that other campaigns have disclosed, such as the number of donors and news donors, the size of the average contribution, the geographical diversity of contributors, and how much money he's raised since the first day.

Sanders' campaign announced that he had hit the $10 million mark within five days.

O'Rourke's campaign did say he had collected money from every state and territory in the union before noon on the day he declared his candidacy.

O'Rourke built a massive email fundraising list during his failed campaign against Cruz and some allies wondered if donors would be as eager to support his presidential campaign as they were to back his bid to oust Cruz.

O'Rourke is on his inaugural campaign trip, visiting Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania this week after a three-day weekend swing through Iowa.