Democrat Wendy Davis pulled $8.7 million into her gubernatorial campaign coffers in the last half of 2013, and another group committed to her election as governor raised $3.5 million over the same period, the Davis campaign announced Tuesday. Minutes after she announced the combined $12.2 million haul, her expected Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, announced he had raised $11.5 million over the same time frame.
Both had bragging rights: Abbott outraised Davis when it came to their actual campaign accounts. But Davis had more when counting the joint “Texas Victory Committee” that splits its resources between her campaign and Battleground Texas, a group working to drive up Democratic turnout and make the GOP-ruled state politically competitive.
The Abbott campaign said it was misleading to combine the two pots of money in describing Davis’ total for the last half of 2013.
“It’s more fuzzy math from the Davis campaign,” Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said.
But Davis spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said the money is all going to the same purpose: to help Davis become the first Democrat elected governor since Ann Richards won in an upset in 1990.
“The committee is a joint effort between Wendy Davis and Battleground Texas,” Acuña said. “The campaign has asked donors to contribute to the TVC, and that money goes to support the work those organizations conduct in making Wendy Davis the next governor.”
Separately, Battleground Texas will report an additional $1.8 million for its field operations. The group was founded by former field operatives for President Obama. Jenn Brown, executive director of the group, said the money that comes in from the joint committee would “absolutely” be used to support Davis’ efforts. She said Abbott’s campaign criticized the structure of Davis’ fundraising operation because he’s worried.
“That’s what I would say, too, if I had raised less,” Brown said. “I think this shows the excitement Texas has for Wendy, and they’re trying to discredit it and it’s terrible for him.”
Besides unveiling the combined $12.2 million haul, Team Davis also said that the Fort Worth senator had collected donations from 71,000 contributors from Texas and around the United States.
BOR has a copy of the Davis press release. The truly impressive stat to me is the one about Team Wendy getting a contribution from all 254 counties in Texas. That would include King County, in which President Obama received five – yes, I said “five” – votes in 2012, and Loving County, in which he received nine. Eighty-five percent of the donations were for $50 or less. And yes, that is some fine whining from the Abbott campaign. He has more cash overall, of course, since he’s had years to hoard many millions, but the game is officially on.
We should start to see finance reports for all candidates on the Texas Ethics Commission webpage tomorrow. I’m very interested to see how other statewide Dems have done, in particular Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. She got in a lot later, so she won’t have nearly as impressive a haul, but I do hope that overall she is able to keep up. This can’t be just the Wendy show, with no one else able to run a statewide organization. LVdP, Sam Houston, Mike Collier – it would be really nice if all of them are able to raise some money, too. It can’t all go to Wendy – we need to make the pie higher, as they say.
Yes, I know, money is not determinative. But let’s be honest, it’s expensive to run a statewide campaign in Texas. You can’t raise the kind of money you’re going to need to run that campaign if people don’t believe in you. This is a great first step, but it’s a long way from over. Davis will need to repeat this kind of performance for July and for the 30 day, and again she’s going to need her ballotmates to do well, too. We all have our work cut out for us.