MIAMI, Fla.—Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro got a significant uptick in fundraising following his strong first-night debate performance.
According to the former HUD secretary’s campaign, Thursday was its best fundraising day since Castro entered the race back in January. The campaign saw an increase of almost three times the amount raised on their prior best fundraising day and nearly three times the number of overall donations.
Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, the campaign said, Castro raised 3,266 percent more money that he did over the previous two days.
Their prior best day, according to an aide, was on April 3, when Castro released his immigration plan on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC primetime show. The campaign declined to provide more hard numbers at this time, but during the first fundraising quarter, Castro raised $1.1 million, a relatively small sum compared to many of his opponents.
Castro and his team had been frustrated that the candidate hadn’t received the attention they thought he deserved prior to the first night of a two-night primary debate in Miami.
Long stuck in the back of the pack in polling despite consistently releasing detailed policy platforms on immigration, policing, housing, and education, Castro finally had a breakout moment on Wednesday, especially during a testy exchange on border policy with a fellow Texan, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
“Coming into the debate, it was clear that I had to introduce myself to the American people,” Castro said at a press conference on Thursday where he also revealed that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had texted him to congratulate him on his performance. “There are a lot of voters who didn’t know who I was, what I’d like to do if I’m elected president. I accomplished my goal for the debate.”
The fundraising bump came at an important moment for Castro’s campaign in advance of next month’s round of debates. While the Texas-based candidate is likely to qualify for the CNN events in late July—for which the Democratic National Committee is using the same thresholds—he and others may find it difficult to make it onto the stage for the third debate in September. The DNC has said that candidates must hit 2 percent in four qualifying polls for that as well as earning 130,000 individual donors.
Later Friday, Castro will embark on a home-state road trip that will bring him to Austin at nearly the same time O’Rourke visits the Texan capital city.