Since Texas House Democrats’ departure from the state in order to thwart the passage of a restrictive voting measure, Beto O’Rourke’s political action committee has raised half a million dollars to finance the tactic.
According to the House Democratic caucus executive director Philip Martin, the caucus paid for the two private jets that flew over 50 lawmakers — along with 12 paid staff — to Washington, D.C., Monday, and the caucus has so far split costs like meals, lodging and other transportation with the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and other fundraising campaigns by Reps. Chris Turner and Trey Martinez Fischer. The Democrats have emphasized that no taxpayer dollars are funding the expenses for their stay in Washington, which could last as long as Aug. 7, the end of the special session in Austin.
Democrats have started making fundraising pitches to help finance their decampment that allows them to keep blocking the passage of GOP voting legislation in Texas. Former presidential candidate and congressman Beto O’Rourke has been soliciting donations for the Democrats on Twitter and has raised more than $500,000 as of Wednesday night. There have been over 15,000 contributions towards O’Rourke’s Powered by People group, with an average individual donation of $36.
“100% of what we raise will go to support them for as long as they need and for whatever it takes to win this fight,” O’Rourke promised in a statement.
Separately, the NAACP has said it will offer to pay the Democrats’ bail if they’re arrested upon their return to Texas. The effort has garnered national attention, and some celebrities have joined the fundraising push. Texas country music singer Willie Nelson and his wife, Annie, matched $5,000 in donations on Tuesday.
“Voter suppression is a real thing, and if we don’t fight it now, we might not get another chance,” Annie Nelson said in a video posted to O’Rourke’s Twitter account. “Please help, donate, support the Texas Democrats who are helping to support us.” Willie Nelson echoed his wife and called on Texans to “jump in there and fight back.”