Politics & Government

July 15, 2014

Abbott claims his gubernatorial campaign has an unprecedented war chest

Democrat Wendy Davis of Fort Worth actually out-raised Republican Greg Abbott in the latest reporting period, but the

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott has amassed a $35.6 million war chest in his campaign for Texas governor, a figure his aides called unprecedented Tuesday.

Abbott’s cash-on-hand figure dwarfs the $13.1 million that his Democratic opponent, Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, said she had piled up so far. The figures from the Davis campaign include money destined for the Democrats’ separate turnout operation.

Both campaigns released their fundraising totals ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. The actual reports, which provide details about donors and expenditures, were not immediately available.

Though Abbott has far more money to spend on the race, Davis had her own reason to brag. She claimed raising $11.2 million for the most recent fundraising period, which ran from late February through June 30. Abbott pulled in $11.1 million over the same time frame, his campaign said.

The figures, reported by the Davis campaign Tuesday, include money from the Texas Victory Committee, a joint fundraising venture between Davis and Battleground Texas, a separate entity dedicated to pumping up Democratic turnout in November.

The Wendy R. Davis for Governor campaign has $8.8 million in the bank and the Texas Victory Committee has $3.2 million, for about $12 million total. Davis' campaign is also counting $1.1 million that the joint fundraising committee has disbursed to Battleground for the fall effort, for a total of $13.1 million.

The $1.1 million figure does not include about $65,000 that Battleground Texas amassed on its own, according to Battleground Texas spokeswoman Erica Sackin.

Davis has raised $27 million since her filibuster in the Texas Capitol last summer over new abortion restrictions made her a star among Democrats. That’s already more than what Democrat Bill White raised against Gov. Rick Perry in 2010, but Davis has burned through more than half that money before a single television ad has aired.

“There are the resources available, and will be raised, to compete in the fall,” Davis spokesman Zac Petkanas said.

The Abbott campaign said no Texas candidate for governor has ever piled up more cash in the bank. While multimillionaire Democrat Tony Sanchez spent about $70 million in his mostly self-financed (and unsuccessful) race for governor in 2002, the money never sat in his campaign account for very long.

The advantages of the Republican nominee’s head start are beginning to show.

“It’s a big body of water for sure. It can be bigger depending on how Abbott spends it,” said Bill Miller, an Austin lobbyist who has worked for Perry and is a longtime political consultant in Texas. “He owns the airwaves if he wants to.”

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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