Cruz, O’Rourke break spending record
U.S. Senate candidates Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke don’t agree on much, but for now, they’ll have to share a spot in the record books.
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the 2018 Texas Senate race now holds the all-time record for most money spent by candidates in a Senate election.
Together, Cruz and O’Rourke have spent more than $93 million in pursuit of the Lone Star State seat. The previous record — nearly $92 million spent between Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio in pursuit of New York’s U.S. Senate seat in 2000 — is no more, and both candidates still have millions left to spend.
The two Texans have raised a stunning $109 million so far. O’Rourke raised $8.5 million from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17, bringing his total to $69 million. More than 46 percent of O’Rourke’s haul comes from small individual contributions of less than $200, the fourth-highest rate of any Senate candidate.
With 31 percent of his funds coming from small individual contributions, Cruz ranks 14th among Senate candidates in the sought-after category. However, while O’Rourke has not received money from PACs, Cruz has raked in more than $1.4 million.
With more than $40 million raised and $5.3 million raised in the most recent filing period, Cruz would be outraising almost any other candidate. Going into the stretch run, Cruz has $6.7 million cash on hand, compared to $10.3 million for his opponent.
It’s the first time in a long time that a Republican Senator in Texas has faced a serious Democratic challenger. Cruz is up five points in the most recent Quinnipiac poll.
The race hasn’t drawn much in the way of outside spending, but a new super PAC called Texas Forever recently bought $1.2 million in negative ads against Cruz. Thus far, most of the negative ads — $4.2 million from Texans Are PAC and approximately $6.7 million in total — have been against O’Rourke.
The Texas race won’t be the only one to pass the 2000 candidate spending record this cycle. In the Florida Senate contest, more than $91 million has already been spent by candidates, with weeks of spending yet to be accounted for.
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