Beto O’Rourke set a new Texas fund-raising record for state office with a $27.6 million haul over four months in the governor’s race, his campaign announced on Friday, saying that it had outpaced Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent, in the tightening contest.
But the campaign of Mr. Abbott, who still holds a cash-on-hand advantage over Mr. O’Rourke, reported that he had raised nearly $25 million during the same period ending in June.
Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign received over a half-million donations at the same time that he was staunchly critical of gun control laws in Texas after a mass shooting in May at an elementary school in Uvalde, and after the state imposed restrictions on abortions last month.
Both issues have boosted the national profile of Mr. O’Rourke, a Democrat and former congressman who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2018 and later for president.
Mr. O’Rourke received widespread attention in May when he interrupted a news conference held by Mr. Abbott in Uvalde after an 18-year-old gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school. Mr. O’Rourke, who supports banning assault weapons, accused Mr. Abbott of “doing nothing” to prevent gun violence before Mr. Abbott’s allies told Mr. O’Rourke to “shut up” and said that he was an “embarrassment.”
Two recent polls — one conducted by the University of Houston and one by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas in Austin — had Mr. O’Rourke within five and within six percentage points of Mr. Abbott.
“We’re receiving support from people in every part of Texas,” Mr. O’Rourke said in a statement and pointed to “keeping our kids safe” and “protecting a woman’s freedom to make her own decisions about her own body, health care and future” as significant concerns.
Gardner Pate, who is Mr. Abbott’s campaign chairman, said in a statement that Mr. Abbott’s re-election effort was well positioned, with nearly $46 million in cash on hand as of the end of June and having raised nearly $68 million since last June.
“Our campaign has also pre-purchased more than $20 million in advertising for the fall, and begun funding an extensive block-walking program to get voters to the polls this November,” Mr. Pate said.
Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign did not disclose how much cash on hand it had through June, but a February filing showed that he had nearly $6.8 million.
Official campaign finance reports for Mr. O’Rourke and Mr. Abbott, due on Friday to the Texas Ethics Commission, have not yet been posted. It was not immediately clear who held the previous Texas fund-raising record for state office.