Neither O’Rourke nor Abrams have led in any major public polling for the entirety of the 2022 election cycle. But new fundraising numbers for both campaigns show that O’Rourke raised more than $76.5 million through the end of October, while Abrams raised more than $97 million through October. Both candidates have a history of record-breaking fundraising, despite previous losing campaigns.
According to a report from the Corpus Christi Caller Times, O’Rourke outraised incumbent Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott by about $1.5 million in the month of October. In the last 30-day reporting period, from September 30 through October 29, O’Rourke took in $10.5 million, while Abbott took in just $9 million.
O’Rourke raised more than Abbott in each of the last three reporting periods, and currently has more cash on hand than the incumbent, $4.3 million to Abbott’s $3 million. But even so, Abbott has raised more money overall: over the course of the cycle, Abbott raised a total of $103 million, while O’Rourke raised just $76.5 million.
In Georgia, the race for Governor is a rematch between Abrams and incumbent Republican Brian Kemp. Combined, the candidates have nearly tripled the combined fundraising total from their first campaign against each other in 2018. Abrams and Kemp raised $165 million for the filing period ending October 25, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
But unlike O’Rourke, Abrams has far outraised the Republican incumbent. Kemp raised $8 million during the previous reporting period, and $69 million in total. He has some $10.3 million cash on hand. Abrams, meanwhile, raised $11.5 million in the same period, and has raised a total of $97 million dollars over the whole cycle; she currently has some $5.6 million cash on hand. The two candidates spent just $48 million combined in 2018.
Despite raising enormous sums of money, both Democrats are on track to get crushed in their respective elections, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls in both states. In Texas, Governor Abbott holds a lead of 9.2 points on average. The latest poll, from the University of Houston, showed Abbott with a 13-point lead over O’Rourke. A similar situation is playing out in Georgia; according to RCP’s poll of polls, Governor Kemp leads Abrams by 7.5 points on average. The latest poll from Fox 5 News and Insider Advantage showed Kemp with a nine-point lead.
Abrams and O’Rourke have become national figures despite losing in high-profile races in 2018. Abrams lost to Kemp; O’Rourke lost his bid to unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R). O’Rourke was one of many also-rans in the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary, but he dropped out in November 2019. O’Rourke and Abrams’ continued national presence led The Atlantic magazine to dub the pair “superstar losers.”
“Both Abrams and O’Rourke have won some elections, but their name recognition far surpasses their electoral accomplishments,” The Atlantic staff writer Jacob Stern opined. “After serving 10 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, Abrams rose to prominence in 2018, when she ran unsuccessfully for the governorship. O’Rourke served three terms as a Texas congressman before running unsuccessfully for the Senate, then the presidency. And they are both running again this year, Abrams for governor of Georgia, O’Rourke for governor of Texas. They are perhaps the two greatest exponents of a peculiar phenomenon in American politics: that of the superstar loser.”