Few things get a political news junkie's heart racing like a new batch of campaign finance reports. Pavlov's dog has nothing on how we drool over the lists of figures...who raised how much, how much cash on hand, who wrote all those checks, and so on.
For candidates, early campaign finance reports often take on make-it-or-break-it importance, especially for candidates seeking a new, higher office. The latest campaign finance reports here in Texas certainly seem poised to crush the dreams of some, while boosting others.
Matt Mackowiak, proprietor of Must Read Texas, posted a chart on Facebook earlier tonight with the figures for the top races in Texas:
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Especially noteworthy are the reports from the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor:
Greg Abbott (R): Raised $4.8 million. Cash on hand: $23 million.
Tom Pauken (R): Raised $221,000. Cash on hand: unknown.
Wendy Davis (D): Raised $933,000. Cash on hand: $1,063,000.
Todd Staples (R): Raised $1 million. Cash on hand: $3 million.
Dan Patrick (R): Raised $750,000. Cash on hand: $2.1 million.
David Dewhurst (R): Raised $1.2 million. Cash on hand: $1.7 million.
Jerry Patterson (R): Raised $417,000. Cash on hand: $1.3 million.
To no one's surprise, Greg Abbott continues to dominate the fundraising. Now that current Governor Rick Perry has announced he won't run for reelection, the path to the Governor's Mansion seems to be rapidly clearing for Abbott.
At Abbott's official campaign announcement in San Antonio on Sunday, hundreds of people (including yours truly) stood for hours in the scorching hot Texas July heat to cheer him on, and the Republicans I've met since I moved here seem to share a universally positive opinion of him, both personally and politically. Republican primary voters don't seem to have any motivation to look any further than the Attorney General's office to find their next Governor.
|With the next Governor of Texas, after he officially|
announced his candidacy in San Antonio on Sunday.
Regarding Democrat Wendy Davis, her pink sneaker'd crusade against the unborn may have made her a darling of the Left and the media, but it did little to win over actual Texas voters...
Wendy Davis' best hope of getting to the Governor's mansion is hoping for an invite to the Christmas party. http://t.co/zZZAmxQWDx
— Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) July 6, 2013
...and this latest fundraising report doesn't show any hope for her to be able to catch up to Abbott. I expect she may have a spike from the last week or so not shown in this report, but the fundraising won't get any easier for her: the special session is over, so there won't be another opportunity for her to grandstand before the national press spotlight.
I asked Mackowiak for his take on this race in a Facebook chat, and he had this to say:
Abbott has a 23 to 1 money advantage and at least an eight point lead according to PPP. Game over.
I'm not inclined to argue with that. Game Over, Senator Davis. Take those pink sneakers back to your district.
Note: Abbott is in the middle of a kickoff tour around the state. Click here to see if he's coming to your town and RSVP.
In contrast to the top of the ticket, the four-way Lieutenant Governor primary contest shows a lineup that will be a surprise for many: Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in the lead after a strong quarter, with about a million dollar cash-in-hand advantage over his nearest challenger, and a more than 2-to-1 advantage over Jerry Patterson, who I had expected to be more competitive. Dewhurst can't be counted out, especially after successfully passing the prolife bill and other legislation in the second special session.
Staples is a surprise winner from the fundraising period and now must be confident that he can make the runoff if he runs a good campaign.
[Disclosure: my company did some work promoting Staples' book, Broken Borders, Broken Promises.]
Of course, nothing is ever a certainty in politics - remember how 2008 was definitely going to be a Rudy vs. Hillary fight? - but right now, Abbott is definitely the guy to beat, and Staples is well-positioned to build on his conservative reputation to have an even stronger fundraising period next time. In fact, with Abbott having such a strong showing, it seems likely that attention - and dollars - may drift down the ballot to this race.
In the meantime, we'll have fun speculating and waiting for the next report!
Follow me on Twitter at @rumpfshaker