Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, the former NFL linebacker running to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, raised more than $2 million in the first 36 hours after he launched his campaign Wednesday, he announced on Twitter.
“I’ve been a part of some incredible teams in my life, but y’all have helped me raise over $2 million in just 36 hours since I announced my campaign to represent all Texans,” Allred tweeted Thursday.
Allred said his campaign “set a record for this cycle raising the most in the first day of a Senate campaign." In a news release, Allred's campaign said more than 34,500 contributors chipped in.
The haul illustrates that liberal donors are fired up about a chance to oust Cruz and turn Texas blue. Cruz, one of the most polarizing Republicans in the Senate, narrowly beat Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 midterm elections cycle.
Allred, 40, a civil rights attorney who once played football for the Tennessee Titans, announced his Senate bid in a three-minute video Wednesday. He pitched himself as a bipartisan pragmatist, highlighting his work with the GOP on veterans’ issues and trade with Mexico.
He highlighted his working-class background as the son of a single mother and public school teacher. The ad features clips from news reports saying he was apparently the first sitting member of Congress to go on paternity leave.
Allred also took aim at Cruz, knocking him for having “cheered on the mob” ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and for flying to Cancún, Mexico, the next month as Texas faced a deadly winter storm and power outages.
“We don’t have to be embarrassed by our senator,” he said in the video. “We can get a new one.”
Allred is known as a prolific fundraiser, and he is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. But he faces an uphill battle in Texas, where voters have not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.
O’Rourke, who galvanized progressives with his 2018 campaign, came close to dislodging Cruz but fell short by about 215,000 votes, or 2.6%. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Allred was swept into office on the wave of Democratic enthusiasm that boosted O’Rourke’s campaign, defeating GOP incumbent Pete Sessions.