In 2014, Democrats and their donors aimed high, and they missed badly.

By this point in that election cycle, Democratic general election nominees running for statewide, legislative and federal office had raised a total of $49.3M. Then-Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), a national political celebrity for her filibuster against an abortion bill, accounted for $21.7M, or 44% of the total, plus millions more for Battleground Texas, a group charged with organizing Democratic voters. She went on to receive 39% of the vote against then-Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott (R), losing by 20 points.

This year, Democrats on the general election ballot have raised a total of $57.1M, an increase of 16% over four years ago. However, the distribution of those funds reveals a dramatic shift in strategy. Instead of funding a high-profile but ultimately futile governor’s race, donors are aiming at the other top-of-the-ballot race and, to a much greater extent than four years ago, congressional and legislative challengers.

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