Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, has burned roughly $175 million running unsuccessful campaigns for a series of different offices in just four years.
O’Rourke — who previously represented a congressional district in El Paso, Texas, between 2013 and 2019 — lost his most recent bid for higher office Tuesday, falling to incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, by a significant margin, the Fox News Decision Desk projected. The failed run for governor of Texas marks O’Rourke’s third unsuccessful bid for a high-profile political office since 2018.
The former congressman lost a race to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by more than 200,000 votes in 2018 and bowed out of the 2020 presidential race in November 2019 before the Democratic primaries started due to his low polling numbers.
“With each new race he loses it becomes more difficult to convince voters and persuade them that he can still win the next race,” Sharon Navarro, a University of Texas at San Antonio political scientist, told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday evening.
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“That’s a very difficult barrier to overcome for a third-time loser.”
While O’Rourke has lost three different races in three consecutive election cycles, he has racked up massive, and sometimes record-breaking, campaign contributions.
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In 2018, O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate raised a whopping $80.3 million, according to Federal Election Commission data. The massive haul included a record-shattering $38.1 million quarterly haul raised between July 2018 and September 2018.
O’Rourke raised another $18.6 million during his short-lived presidential campaign which lasted a mere seven months.
And during the 2022 gubernatorial campaign, O’Rourke set more records, pulling in more than $76 million in the year since he announced his intention to run for the seat, The Texas Tribune reported. The $27.6 million his campaign raised between February and June was the largest quarterly figure ever recorded in Texas.
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“It’s amazing how much money Democratic voters waste on social media stars in clearly unwinnable races, doing nothing but enriching Dem consultants,” political commentator Glen Greenwald tweeted Tuesday. “$75m on Beto. $70m on Demings. $11m on MTG’s opponent (someone named Marcus Flowers).”
“At least Dem consultants got new boats,” he added.
Despite his eventual defeats, O’Rourke out-raised Cruz in 2018 and Abbott this year.
O’Rourke’s campaign did not immediately respond on whether the Texas Democrat planned on running for political office again.