Attorney General Greg Abbott and Sen. Wendy Davis showed no signs of slowing down in their latest campaign finance reports. Abbott’s campaign reported the largest cash on hand figure in state history, while the Davis campaign trumpeted that she had outraised Abbott for the period, if two Democratic mobilization and infrastructure-building accounts are included.
In our summary below, we exclude Battleground Texas and The Texas Victory Committee’s figures. The Davis campaign’s unusual – and complicated – accounting structure makes it difficult to determine exactly how much has been raised. Also unusual is the sheer volume of unitemized contributions to the various accounts: $3.9 million by our estimation. By contrast, the Abbott campaign itemized all contributions.
|Candidate||July Semiannual||2013-14 Cycle|
|Cash on Hand||Contributions||Expenditures||Contributions||Expenditures|
|Loan Principal: none.|
Abbott has more than one third of all cash on hand for all Texas statewide, legislative, special election and board of education candidates. He has nearly $20 million more on hand at this point than Rick Perry had in his last two gubernatorial campaigns combined. He has raised $13 million more than Perry had at this point in 2010, and Perry had an expensive primary race that year.
Davis is more than $5 million ahead of 2010 nominee Bill White in terms of total contributions collected by this point in the election cycle, not including the Battleground Texas and Texas Victory Committee accounts. Perhaps more impressive is that she has raised more for just her campaign accounts than Perry did in 2010, as of June 30 of the election year.
Only 2002 Democratic nominee Tony Sanchez, who contributed $56.6 million to his own campaign, has raised more during an election cycle.
Summary of Total Contributions by Recent Republican Gubernatorial Candidates
|30-day-out – Prim.||$3,130,779||$734,366||$262,555||N/R**|
|8-day-out – Prim.||$2,465,014||$852,451||$923,369||N/R**|
|Cash on Hand
as of June 30 of election year
|30-day-out – Gen.||TBD||$8,266,335||$3,072,059||$4,013,945|
|8-day-out – Gen.||TBD||$8,404,585||$2,633,491||$3,395,128|
|Gen. Vote %||TBD||55.0%||39.0%***||57.8%|
* Reporting of cash on hand was voluntary prior to Sept. 1, 2003, so it was commonly omitted.
** Perry did not have a primary opponent in 2002, so he did not have to file these reports.
*** Perry’s plurality vote total won a four-way contest by 9.2% over the nearest candidate.
Summary of Total Contributions by Recent Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates
|30-day-out – Prim.||$608,589||$761,767||$60,681||$938,229|
|8-day-out – Prim.||$1,623,871||$2,221,667||$259,569||$1,501,561|
|Cash on Hand
as of June 30 of election year
|30-day-out – Gen.||TBD||$4,687,056||$1,486,597||$22,172,270|
|8-day-out – Gen.||TBD||$3,698,632||$1,916,824||$6,363,599|
|Gen. Vote %||TBD||42.3%||29.8%||40.0%|
*Davis’ totals include only her COH account and her associated SPAC. Figures exclude any funds raised for Battleground Texas, the Texas Victory Committee or any other entity.
**Sanchez contributed $56.6 million to his own campaign, thus raising just $5.8 million from actual donors, which was less than the amount Bell raised.
The table at right shows how much money the two candidates have raised from eight major Texas cities. Abbott leads in all but San Antonio. Elsewhere in the state, Abbott has a substantial lead over Davis. At least, this is true as far as itemized contributions are concerned.
Almost $3.5 million of contributions to Davis’ two campaign committees are unitemized, so their sources are unknown. This represents 16% of her total contributions, roughly $1 out of every $6 she has reported raising.
As of this point in 2010, only $103 of White’s contributions were unitemized. So far this year, none of Abbott’s contributions are unitemized.
By law, contributions from a donor may be unitemized if they total less than $50 for the filing period. This means that Davis has more than 70,000 such donors, although some will be duplicated from one filing period to the next.
Adding to the difficulty in analyzing Davis’ contributions are transfers to her campaign accounts from Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee. Davis reports nearly $1.5 million in direct contributions from Battleground Texas. She reports no direct contributions from Texas Victory Committee, but $2.5 million in contributions to her campaign account are flagged “Texas Victory Committee Transfer Contribution.”
Many of these transactions have similar, but double the amount, contributions reported by Texas Victory Committee. As best as we can tell, Davis is also reporting some of the contributions collected by Texas Victory Committee. It appears the same dynamic is going on with Battleground Texas’ report, but there is no similar note on those contributions. However, Texas Victory Committee reported giving $2.5 million to the Davis campaign account and $2.5 million to Battleground Texas on March 6.
We conclude that at least $5 million, and potentially all, of Texas Victory Committee’s contributions are being reported twice. If this is correct, then it becomes difficult to know with certainty exactly how much money has been raised to benefit the campaign and the other Battleground Texas activities.
Summary of Total Contributions to Davis and Associated PACs
|July ‘13 Semiannual||$933,471||–||$1,121,320||–|
|30-day-out – Prim.||$319,714||$288,875||$34,519*||$305,685|
|8-day-out – Prim.||$2,035||$1,621,836||$54,977||$1,221,239|
|Cash on Hand
as of June 30
Note: At least $5 million raised by the Texas Victory Committee was also reported by the Davis SPAC and Battleground Texas, and $1.5 million was transferred from Battleground Texas to the Davis SPAC.
So, how much money has Wendy Davis raised, and from whom? The answer is not clear. It is unclear how many of the more than 86,000 itemized contributions recorded by the four PACs are duplicated, and it is unclear how much, if any, of those contributors also provided unitemized contributions. Let us be clear: we are not accusing the Davis campaign of doing anything illegal, unethical or intentionally misleading. We expect the campaign has good reasons to set up its financial structure and report its contributions in this manner.
As we do for many races we examine, we list below (See Linked PDF) the top contributors to the Abbott and Davis campaigns. Abbott’s contributor list is fairly straightforward and, we believe, accurate. The Davis contributor list was compiled looking across the four PACs. While we have questions as to the accuracy of the contribution levels, we can use the list to see who Davis’ significant contributors are.