WASHINGTON — Former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas raised $9.4 million over the first 18 days of his presidential bid, his campaign said on Wednesday, the latest sign of his ability to attract online donors even within a packed Democratic field.
The total, which represents Mr. O’Rourke’s fund-raising haul for the first quarter of the year, is smaller than the first-quarter numbers of two rivals, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California. But Mr. O’Rourke only joined the presidential race in mid-March.
Mr. O’Rourke, who proved to be an extraordinary online fund-raiser during his unsuccessful run for Senate last year, received 218,000 contributions, with an average donation of $43, his campaign said.
It also said that a majority of donors to his presidential bid had not donated to his Senate campaign. Mr. O’Rourke raised roughly $80 million for his race against Senator Ted Cruz, an eye-popping total that created high expectations for his fund-raising as a presidential candidate.
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After entering the 2020 race, Mr. O’Rourke offered early evidence of his fund-raising power: His campaign said he had received $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his bid, more than any other Democratic presidential candidate had announced raising in his or her first day. Mr. Sanders had previously been atop the pack, at $5.9 million in 24 hours.
That huge first day made up a majority of Mr. O’Rourke’s fund-raising in the first quarter. Mr. Sanders went on to reach a total of $10 million raised within a week of announcing his campaign, his team said, a threshold that Mr. O’Rourke did not meet in 18 days.
“There are tremendous expectations for him given his 2018 performance, but he’s now swimming in a much more crowded pond than he was in 2018,” said Amy Walter, the national editor of the Cook Political Report. “And so I think that is going to be something to be watching for over the course of these next few months.”
Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign said 98 percent of the contributions it received were below $200. The campaign did not say how much cash it currently has.
“Not only is this a sign of our grass-roots strength during the first two weeks of our campaign,” Mr. O’Rourke said of his fund-raising in a statement, “but it is a sign of what’s possible when you put your full trust in the people of this country.”
Presidential candidates must disclose their first-quarter fund-raising by April 15, but some campaigns decide to make their numbers public before that deadline.
Mr. Sanders’s campaign said on Tuesday that he had raised $18.2 million over six weeks, and Ms. Harris’s campaign said on Monday that she had raised $12 million since joining the race in January. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said on Monday that he had raised more than $7 million since January.
The early fund-raising totals put Mr. Sanders and Mr. O’Rourke in their own class when it comes to bringing in money from grass-roots donors. Mr. Sanders’s campaign said he had not held any fund-raising events. Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign said 99 percent of his fund-raising came from online donations, and that he had not held a fund-raiser since entering the race.
Ms. Harris, on the other hand, has a strong network of small donors, but she has also aggressively courted large donors. Her campaign said more than $6 million of her $12 million total came from the campaign’s digital program, which includes fund-raising efforts like email solicitations.