MONTGOMERY, Texas — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believes Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, is testing the waters for a potential 2020 bid after he racked up a record fundraising haul in the third quarter of 2018 and is courting donors in early primary states in his bid to unseat the incumbent Republican next month.

Cruz told reporters after an event north of Houston Saturday that O'Rourke is "unquestionably" looking ahead to 2020 after announcing a $38.1 million haul this past week — a record quarter that dwarfs the previous record (Rep. Rick Lazio in 2000 vs then-first lady Hillary Clinton) by $15 million.

"When Beto O'Rourke has gone hard left like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, he's pursuing the national Democratic activists in Iowa, New Hampshire — not El Paso," Cruz said.

"Unquestionably," Cruz said when pressed about his early primary state claim regarding 2020.

"When he raises more money in a single quarter than any Democrat in the history of Senate elections, the way to do that is 100 out of 100 times, if given a choice between option A) that will energize and excite and thrill left-wing donors or option B) the choice that will defend the people of Texas and reflect their values, he always, always, always chooses option A)," Cruz said. "That raises you a ton of money."

O'Rourke has maintained that he is not interested in a 2020 bid.

The Texas senator is locked in a fierce battle with the Democratic congressman, but has pulled away from O'Rourke in recent polling despite his opponent's cash advantage. According to the latest Quinnipiac poll released this week, Cruz holds a 9-point advantage — 54-45 percent — over O'Rourke.

Additionally, Cruz holds a favorability advantage, as 52 percent view him favorably compared with only 44 percent unfavorable. Forty-five percent view O'Rourke favorably, compared with 47 percent unfavorably in the GOP-leaning state.

Cruz also takes 37 percent of likely Hispanic-American voters, while O'Rourke carries 61 percent backing.

Cruz himself pulled in $12 million in the final quarter.