O’Rourke says he averaged $47 per donation in massive first-day haul

Beto O’Rourke says he averaged $47 per donation in his record-breaking $6.1 million fundraising haul on the first day of his presidential campaign.

The former Texas congressman told reporters in New Hampshire on Wednesday that the total came from 128,000 separate donors. O’Rourke’s campaign is rejecting donations from political action committees, so the contributions come from individuals.

Interest in the size of O’Rourke’s average donation had spiked when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who in February tallied $5.9 million in his first day — in a fundraising email suggested O’Rourke’s contributions had come from wealthier donors contributing larger sums.

“The good news is, we more than likely had a lot more individual donations than he did,” Sanders’ campaign said in Monday’s email.

Sanders in his 2016 presidential campaign had made his average donation of $27 a regular talking point, using it to cast himself as powered by the progressive rank-and-file. His $5.9 million first-day fundraising total came from 223,000 individuals.

O’Rourke’s $47-per-donation average matches the average contribution he received in 2018’s Texas Senate race, where he smashed all previous Senate campaign fundraising records and raised $80 million.

O’Rourke’s team spent weeks preparing for a major first-day small-dollar fundraising splash, warming up the massive email list he’d built during the Senate race and advertising on Facebook.

The first-day totals from O’Rourke and Sanders have far exceeded all other Democratic candidates who shared their totals. The next closest has been California Sen. Kamala Harris, at $1.5 million.