(NBC News) – In the first day that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is an official presidential candidate, his campaign raised $500,000 – a solid haul for a candidate who is in the bottom tier of polls and has been overshadowed by prolific fundraisers former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
The totals include a fundraising event he held in New York City Monday night, just hours after delivering his announcement speech to the Christian conservative student body at Liberty University. His campaign said 60 percent of funds came from large donors and 40 percent from online donations.
One advantage of jumping in the race first, however, is that Cruz’s symbolic first-day fundraising totals are unable to be compared to others’ first days.
Now that Cruz is an official candidate, he must subscribe to campaign finance rules that include strict fundraising limits, including $2,700 per person for his primary.
Cruz’ half-a-million dollars, however, is far cry from the top one-day fundraising feats that surpassed $6 million by 2008 presidential candidates Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. An important difference is that all three had been on the campaign trail for a significant amount of time building their brands, name recognition and following.
Through his no-compromising method of governing and theatrical preacher-like speech delivery, Cruz is looking to appeal to evangelical conservatives and the most conservative components of the Republican Party.
At Liberty University, Cruz laid out the message of his campaign, saying “It is the time for truth, it is the time for liberty, it is the time to reclaim the constitution of the United States.”