Left-wing billionaire George Soros donated $1 million to Beto O’Rourke’s bid to unseat Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in Texas, contributing to the Democratic candidate’s feat of outraising the incumbent during the past fundraising quarter.
Nearly half of O’Rourke’s record-breaking $27.6 million fundraising haul came from out-of-state donors, with Soros’s hefty donation helping the Democratic challenger best Abbott in fundraising over the past six months, according to filings by the Texas Ethics Commission reported by the Hill. The sum also helped O’Rourke reach a milestone of making the most money a Texas candidate running for a statewide office has ever raised in a single fundraising period.
Soros, a Hungary-born American who became a hedge fund manager for clients in New York, has a net worth of $8.6 billion, according to Forbes. He has become a bogeyman of sorts to the Right, particularly for his millions of dollars in campaign donations to prosecutors.
Soros made the donation to O’Rourke one day before the Supreme Court announced its highly anticipated decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which handed the issue of abortion access back to individual states, prompting criticism from the 91-year-old financier-turned-philanthropist.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn #RoeVWade ends federal protections for abortion, diminishes human rights, and greatly threatens reproductive care,” Soros wrote in a tweet. “We have invested in reproductive rights organizations that are fighting back at this moment.”
Texas has a “trigger ban” that prohibits abortions from the moment of fertilization, with rare exceptions to save the life of the mother, set to go into effect at the end of July, according to the New York Times.
O’Rourke received a handful of large donations costing more than $100,000, although the majority of his haul came from small donations, according to his campaign. Comparatively, Abbott had 62 donors who contributed six-figure sums that made up more than half of his total second-quarter haul, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Overall, O’Rourke raked in $27.6 million from more than 511,000 individual donors between Feb. 20 and June 30, according to his campaign. That puts him ahead of Abbott’s gains during the same time period. The incumbent raised $24.9 million from nearly 113,000 donors.
Abbott boasts nearly $46 million in cash on hand. O’Rourke’s campaign did not disclose how much money it has on hand, though the campaign reported about $6.8 million as of mid-February.
The Texas gubernatorial race has been closely watched ever since O’Rourke announced his bid to unseat Abbott last November, criticizing the state’s “extremist policies” over the past few years.
Despite the record-breaking fundraising numbers, O’Rourke faces an uphill battle in his efforts to flip the governor’s mansion blue in the deep-red state. O’Rourke was a U.S. congressman from El Paso who ran ill-fated campaigns for Senate against Ted Cruz (R) and for the White House before announcing his gubernatorial campaign.
Nearly 50% of voters are leaning toward voting for Abbott in the general election, compared to O’Rourke’s 44%, according to recent polling from the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. Another 5% are undecided. The poll, conducted between June 27 and July 7, surveyed 1,169 YouGov respondents who are registered to vote in Texas and had a confidence interval of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The election is set for November.