Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego broke a record for Hispanic Senate candidates in his first quarter of fundraising to compete for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) seat.
Gallego netted $3.7 million in his first official fundraising quarter, making his launch more successful than that of any Latino Senate candidate in history.
“Despite getting bankrolled by Wall Street lobbyists and corporate executives, Sinema couldn’t come close to our grassroots fundraising operation,” the congressman said in a statement to The Hill. “I’m honored to have earned the trust and support of grassroots donors across the Arizona. Today’s numbers make it clear: everyday Arizonans are with us. We have a long road ahead, but together we’re unstoppable.”
Gallego’s campaign touted the haul, comparing it to Sinema’s quarterly numbers, as reported by Politico, which said she will report a $1.7 million increase to her now-$9.9 million war chest.
Sinema, who left the Democratic Party in December to become an independent, has not yet announced whether she will run for reelection, though her aggressive fundraising suggests she will.
Gallego is currently the only Arizonan running for the Senate seat next year and is counting on a fast-paced, bombastic launch to scare off any Democratic contenders — and potentially to discourage Sinema from running as an independent.
No Republican has launched a campaign for the seat yet, but the election is expected to be drastically different depending on whether the eventual GOP nominee falls to the right or the center of the party.
Still, Gallego’s lack of a primary challenger so far means he is free to reach out to Democrats and independents of all stripes from the get-go.
“Ruben Gallego’s fundraising numbers are just the latest example of the strength of his candidacy. I think it also helps solidify him as the Democratic nominee, and will keep other Democrats who were thinking of running out of the race,” said Chuck Rocha, a campaign strategist who’s running Gallego’s Latino outreach.
According to his campaign, Gallego received more than 106,000 individual donations over the first quarter.
“The most striking element that shows his grassroots support in state and across the nation is the over 100,000 donors, of which 99 percent can still give again. In politics, it’s easy to talk about ‘support,'” Rocha said.
“But when you have an army of people that will continuously give you 5, 10 and 15 bucks, that’s how you build the infrastructure in a campaign that can win statewide in a purple state. I don’t think any other Latino federal candidate has ever raised that amount of money.”
Before launching his Senate run, Gallego ran the Congressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm, Bold PAC, overseeing that group’s largest-ever midterm haul.