Texas U.S. Senate candidate O'Rourke says raises record $38.1 million

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Supporters listen as U.S. Rep. O'Rourke during a campaign rally at the University of Texas at Austin© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Supporters listen as U.S. Rep. O’Rourke during a campaign rally at the University of Texas at Austin

By Tim Reid

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke said he raised $38.1 million in the final full fiscal quarter before the Nov. 6 elections in his campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a record for any U.S. Senate race.

It was more than three times the $12 million that Cruz told supporters last week he had raised in the quarter, which ended Sept 30. O’Rourke’s cash haul was the largest amount raised by a U.S. Senate candidate in a single quarter, according to data from the Federal Election Commission, which goes back to 1994.

Despite the money bump, polls generally show O’Rourke trailing in the heavily conservative state. A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Friday showed Cruz with an 8 percentage point lead over O’Rourke.

O’Rourke, a first-term congressman from El Paso, thanked his more than 800,000 donors in the third quarter. “It’s going to give us the resources we need to finish this campaign as strong as we possibly can,” O’Rourke told supporters in a video on Twitter.

O’Rourke made the disclosure ahead of Monday’s deadline for candidates to report their fundraising to the Federal Election Commission.

Cruz last week warned supporters that he expected O’Rourke to have raised more than $30 million in the quarter.

The progressive O’Rourke hopes to become the first Democrat to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate in 30 years.

The race will help determine the balance of power in the upper chamber of Congress, where Democrats are trying to pick up two more seats that would give them a majority, and try to check President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Cruz has painted O’Rourke, who favors a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, opposes building a wall along the border with Mexico, and supports some gun-control measures, as too radical for Texas.

O’Rourke in turn has blasted Cruz for supporting massive deportations of illegal immigrants. He also criticized Cruz for supporting Trump’s trade policies, which he said have hurt the Texas economy.

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