Multiple sources told the Wall Street Journal that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand slammed Beto O’Rourke for ‘selfishly’ keeping his fundraising haul from the 2018 Senate campaign to himself.
Gillibrand, a 2020 presidential contender, is echoing what numerous Democrats have griped about in the past when O’Rourke set fundraising records in his quest to unseat Senator Ted Cruz. While bringing in $69 million for that race, the Texas Democrat spent an exorbitant $59 million despite every major poll indicating he would lose.
Democrats voiced their opinion that O’Rourke should have spread the wealth around to other Democrat candidates who weren’t taking in as much money but were in tighter races.
“He could have a huge impact for the party by sharing some of it with the D.S.C.C. so it could be spent in states where candidates just need a little extra to get over the hump,” a veteran Democratic strategist told the New York Times.
Beto’s response was quite simple – “No.”
Now, Gillibrand is piling on in the same, albeit curious manner, suggesting she might view O’Rourke himself as a contender in the 2020 Democrat presidential field.
GILLIBRAND told Iowans at private dinner that BETO “was selfish for not sharing any of his 2018 fundraising haul with down-ballot Democrats, according to two people in attendance.” Via @reidepstein https://t.co/1GidEa3SgZ
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) January 30, 2019
An aide to Gillibrand claims the conversation was not exactly as reported, it should be noted.
In-fighting amongst candidates is not a great sign, especially when one of them isn’t even technically declared for the upcoming election.
Is Beto Even Running?
As we stated, Beto O’Rourke hasn’t even entered the fray of numerous Democrats seeking to unseat Donald Trump as president. So why would Gillibrand cause bad blood by going after him?
Despite it not being official, O’Rourke has exhibited several signs that suggest he’ll be putting his name in the ring at some point.
Oprah Winfrey is providing a forum for him at a network interview series in New York City next week, allowing an opportunity to significantly improve his public profile.
I had been pretty high on Gillibrand but this is a bonkers criticism. The people that gave to Beto GAVE TO BETO, his vision and his goals—which were about electing Democrats (lol all but one!) in Texas. For him to funnel it out of state would have been an insult to them. https://t.co/YursYsLFFT
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) January 30, 2019
The Washington Post reported that Beto met with former president Barack Obama in November. Obama called him an “impressive young man who ran a terrific race in Texas” and compared the failed candidate to himself.
Gillibrand Has Attacked Beto Before
This isn’t the first time Gillibrand has gone after Beto, though the previous instance was a little more subtle.
The New York Democrat was asked about a CNN poll that had O’Rourke in the top three contenders for the Democrat nomination.
CNN host Van Jones asked her if she finds it worrisome that the top three candidates are “white guys,” to which Gillibrand responded, “yes.”
That poll had her eleventh in the field, prior to her official campaign kickoff.
A skeptic might think Gillibrand is actually trying to ride Beto’s name recognition to a more prominent position in the field. Will attacking someone not even in the race prove to be a sound strategy on her part? Time will tell.