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Report reveals Beto O'Rourke spent nearly every penny of his record-breaking campaign fundraising haul

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) raised more than $80 million in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). While it was a losing effort for O'Rourke, the national spotlight positioned him as a leader in the Democratic Party and a potential candidate for president in 2020.

But newly released campaign finance documents reveal that O'Rourke nearly spent every dime of his record-breaking campaign haul.

What are the details?

Post-election finance documents released by the Federal Election Commission covering the period between Oct. 18 to Nov. 26 — or about three weeks before the midterm elections and three weeks after — show that O'Rourke's campaign reported having only $477,000 in the bank at the end of the campaign.

In total, O'Rourke's campaign raised a staggering $80.3 million for the unsuccessful Senate bid. Cruz, though raising less than half of O'Rourke's total, still raised a respectable $38.9 million, campaign documents show.

More from the Texas Tribune:

O'Rourke's low cash-on-hand figure is notable. After he raised an astonishing $38 million in the third quarter of this year, he faced some scrutiny regarding whether he would be able to spend the level of money he was raking in — and whether it would be better used in more winnable races.


O'Rourke did receive last-minute help from a secretive super PAC, Texas Forever, that was revealed Thursday to have been primarily funded by a major national Democratic group.

O'Rourke promised not to take PAC money throughout the contest, and his most recent report shows he stuck to his word through the end. While he also told groups like Texas Forever to stay out, candidates have no formal control over the activities of super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as long as they do not coordinate with campaigns.

Cruz ultimately defeated O'Rourke by 2.6 percentage points, a solid win for the Texas conservative, albeit a closer margin of victory than he anticipated.

And while O'Rourke won't be walking the halls of Congress after his successor for Texas' 16th congressional district next month, Democratic strategists believe O'Rourke may begin laying the foundation for a run at the White House in 2020. O'Rourke has acknowledged he is considering a run, evening meeting with former President Barack Obama last month.

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