GOV: The campaign of Gov. Greg Abbott will report raising $9M during the second half of 2016 and has more than $34M on hand as of January 1. The latter figure is likely more than the entire U.S. House delegation has on hand, collectively, as of the same time. The 36 members and members-elect of the U.S. House delegation had a combined $23M on hand as of November 28. It would not be the first time Abbott’s war chest exceeds that of all 36 sitting U.S. House members.
Abbott’s $9M in contributions is the highest he has reported for any single period since the July 2014 semiannual report ($11.1M) and the third-highest contribution total he has ever reported. His $34M cash on hand is just short of the nearly $36M he reported having on hand in the July 2014 semiannual report, just months before his general election victory over former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth).
Abbott has raised $33M since January 1, 2015. He has reported raising more than $112M since January 1, 1995. Only former Gov. Rick Perry ($134M) has raised more since campaign contributions were required to be reported in 1993.
AG: State District Judge George Gallagher set a May 1 date for Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal trial on securities fraud charges. Paxton has denied any wrongdoing.
HD46: Austin immigration attorney Chito Vela held a campaign kickoff event this evening (Thursday) even though there is no current race for the seat. Vela and former Austin city council member Sheryl Cole have said they will continue running even if there is no special election. Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin), who had previously announced she would step down this week, instead took the oath of office and intends to serve the term she won in November.