Willie Nelson and Beto O'Rourke use star power to raise thousands of dollars for Texas Dems

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Country music singer Willie Nelson and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke are fund-raising for a group of Texas Democrats threatened with arrest by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) after fleeing the state to block GOP-led voting restrictions.

Why it matters: O'Rourke created a buzz when he ran as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and now he's using his platform to raise money for the Texas House Democrats.

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By the numbers: By Wednesday afternoon, a fund-raising site for the 57 lawmakers had "raised $526,780 from 14,654 donors, for an average of $36 per donation," according to the Dallas Morning News.

  • O'Rourke thanked Nelson and wife Annie Nelson in a statement on Tuesday for "generously matching the next $5K in donations to support Texas Democrats in their fight for voting rights."

The big picture: The Texas Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday night. They have said they'll stay away for as long as necessary to block the Republican voting bill from passing.

  • That would require the group to remain out of state for at least the remainder of the special session.

  • The NAACP has said it will offer to pay the Democrats' bail if they're arrested upon their return to Texas.

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