The campaign of Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced he raised more than $9M during the second half of 2017 and will report having $43.3M on hand, the biggest war chest ever reported by a Texas candidate for a state race, breaking his own record set in July. He has $16.3M more on hand now than he at this time in his 2014 campaign. It’s $31.7M more than former Gov. Rick Perry had on hand at this time in his 2010 campaign when then-U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was his primary opponent.
We won’t know until February, but it’s likely that Abbott’s $43.3M cash on hand figure will exceed the combined cash on hand of every member of the Texas congressional delegation, again.
Abbott has raised more than $141M since 1995, a lifetime total that surpasses Perry’s and makes Abbott the most prolific fundraiser in state political history. He has raised nearly $84M during the last four years, a total that exceeds Perry’s last two terms combined. He has raised more than $52M since being elected governor, putting him on pace to shatter the record for most contributions reported by a gubernatorial candidate during a four-year cycle (The largely self-funded Tony Sanchez reported $62.4M in contributions in 2002.).
Abbott raised $19.1M during 2017, the most ever raised by a Texas officeholder or candidate during a non-election year, breaking his own record of $17.7M set in 2016. The most Perry ever raised in a non-election year was $11.4M in 2009. Abbott’s $52M in contributions raised since January 2015 is nearly double the amount he raised during the corresponding period before his 2014 gubernatorial race. He is just over $6M away from exceeding the total he raised from 2011 to 2014. He has already raised more than former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) raised* during the four years leading up to and including her unsuccessful 2014 gubernatorial bid, and he has exceeded the amount raised by Perry from 2007 to 2010, his last campaign for governor.
In calendar year 2014, Abbott raised $31.2M. If he were to match that total in 2018, then he will have raised more during his first term as governor than Perry raised during his last two terms combined, and he will have raised more in the last five years than Perry raised during his last three terms combined.
According to the campaign, Abbott received at least one contribution from each of the state’s 254 counties, and “53% of donations came from first-time donors.” About 93% of his contributions from individuals came from Texas donors, according to his campaign’s press release.
* We include contributions made to her campaign/officeholder account and her specific-purpose committee, Wendy R. Davis for Governor, Inc. We exclude amounts reported by two other PACs – Battleground Texas and Texas Victory Committee – consistent with our practice of looking only at funds contributed directly to or directly benefitting a candidate. The complicated structure of her campaign’s fundraising efforts made it difficult to calculate exactly how much Davis raised.