Note: This report has been updated to reflect significant changes to originally reported figures by Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton’s campaign.
The governor’s race (Likely R) is taking the oxygen out of the room, accounting for 65 cents out of every dollar contributed to a state candidate on the November ballot during the most recent fundraising period.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke (D) posted the two biggest single-period fundraising totals in state history for a state race. O’Rourke out-raised Abbott, $27.6M to $24.9M, for the period covered by July semiannual reports. For both candidates, the period ran February 20 through June 30. Because O’Rourke’s report was not yet available online, we are relying on the numbers reported by his campaign on Friday for purposes of this report.
Only one other candidate for state office has ever reported more than $20M in contributions in a single fundraising period. In 2002, Tony Sanchez, the self-funded Democratic challenger facing then Gov. Rick Perry (R), reported $22.2M in contributions in his 30-day-out report before the general election and $20.1M in his January semiannual report filed after the election. However, Sanchez’s contribution total from donors other than himself was miniscule.
According to their respective campaigns, O’Rourke had more than 500K individual contributors, and Abbott had more than 110K.
State candidates’ July semiannual reports were due Friday, and most became available online over the weekend. The reporting period ended June 30 for all candidates, but it began at different times depending on whether a candidate was unopposed in the primary (January 1), opposed in the primary (February 20), opposed in a runoff (May 15) or involved in a special election (varies).
O’Rourke now holds the contribution record for any candidate in any fundraising period for a federal non-presidential race ($37.4M during the third quarter of 2018) and a state race ($27.6M during the period covered by his latest report). O’Rourke has raised a total of $127.7M since his first run for Congress in 2012, including $79.0M for his 2018 U.S. Senate campaign and $18.6M for his short-lived 2020 presidential campaign. He raised additional funds for joint projects and PACs that we do not include in our fundraising figures because the candidate does not have direct control over the funds.
Abbott, the most prolific fundraiser in state history, set his own personal record for total contributions in a reporting period, breaking his previous record of $19.0M set during the last half of 2021. Abbott has raised $107.1M since his last election in 2018 and $184.5M since he was elected governor in 2014. His overall fundraising total sits at $273.6M going back to the first campaign finance report he filed in 1995 as a Supreme Court candidate. This figure is more than double the amount former Gov. Rick Perry (R) raised as a state candidate and officeholder ($132.9M).
Abbott’s $30.2M in contributions during the first half of 2022 shattered his previous record for any half-year period, which was $19.0M during the last half of 2021. Over the first half of 2022, O’Rourke has narrowly out-raised Abbott, $31.9M to $30.2M, assuming the fundraising number provided by his campaign meets our definition of contributions.
Going back to the oxygen in the room metaphor, nearly three out of every four dollars contributed to a Democratic candidate for statewide and legislative office went to O’Rourke. Abbott accounted for just over half – 53% – of contributions made to Republican candidates for state candidates. In 2018, O’Rourke accounted for 65% of contributions received by Democratic candidates for federal office.
O’Rourke has already raised more money in this election year than 2014 nominee Wendy Davis, who raised $30.75M for her campaign during 2018 (She raised significantly more than that if joint fundraising accounts were included, but we do not include them because the candidate does not control the spending of those funds.). O’Rourke trails Sanchez by nearly $28M for the most ever raised by a gubernatorial candidate during a single year, but, as previously noted, Sanchez was almost entirely self-funded.
Abbott ended the first half of the year with $46.0M on hand, the most for any state candidate at this point in the election cycle. He has $16.0M more on hand now than he had in the corresponding point in 2018 and $10.4M more than in 2014. This seminannual report marks the 10th time overall and 6th time in a row Abbott has had at least $40M on hand.
He is $19.4M below his record war chest of $65.4M, which he reported at the end of 2021. However, it should be noted that Abbott’s campaign has already spent more than $20M reserving ad spots for the general election. Had those ad buys occurred after July 1, his cash on hand total would have been closer to $66M, which likely would have set a new record. Abbott spent just over $30M during the period.
O’Rourke’s cash on hand number was not provided by his campaign. He had $6.8M on hand as of February 20.
Notable Statewide Results
LTGOV (Lean R): Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) set a record when he reported having just over $27M on hand, breaking his own mark of $25.1M set at the end of 2021. Because he filed a report for the runoff, even though he was not on the ballot, his fundraising for the current period was just $2.3M. Combining that with his runoff report figure, Patrick has raised $5.4M since February 20.
Democratic challenger Mike Collier (D), who was on the runoff ballot, raised $694K for the period covered by the latest report, and he has $534K on hand. Since February 20, Collier has raised just shy of $1.2M. For the half-year, Patrick has out-raised Collier, $6.3M to $1.4M.
AG (Lean R):
Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) raised $3.8M since his runoff report, bringing his half-year total to $7.1M. Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza raised $518K since the runoff and $972K since January 1. Paxton holds a $3.5M to $446K advantage in cash on hand.
For the second time this year, Paxton’s initially filed report fails to itemize
millions of dollars in contributions and expenditures.
Update: In a revised filing, Paxton’s campaign lowered his contribution total to $341K since the runoff. All contributions and expenditures are itemized in the revised report. His $3.5M cash on hand figure stands. This means Garza out-raised Paxton for the period, $518K to $341K. During the first half of 2022, Paxton out-raised Garza, $3.6M to $972K.
COMP (Likely R): Comp. Glenn Hegar (R) reported having $8.5M on hand after raising $526K since the primary election. Democratic challenger Janet Dudding has just $17K on hand, which is less than $1 for every $500 in Hegar’s war chest.
LAND open (Likely R): Jay Kleberg (D) out-raised Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), $586K to $170K, for the period beginning May 20. In the first half of 2022, Buckingham narrowly out-raised Kleberg, $1.54M to $1.44M, and outspent him, $3.7M to $1.5M.
Generally speaking, a lack of competitive seats and few spirited challengers led to a ho-hum set of fundraising numbers at the legislative level. A handful of seats are worth mentioning here:
HD70 (Toss Up): Republican Jamee Jolly out-raised Democratic rival Mihaela Plesa, $122K to $80K, since May 20, and has out-raised Plesa, $602K to $112K, over the first half of the year. Neither has more than $50K on hand.
HD74 (Lean D): Republican challenger Kathleen Parker out-raised Rep. Eddie Morales Jr. (D-Eagle Pass), $101K to $33K, and outspent him, $47K to $7K, since January 1. Morales holds a $122K to $48K advantage in cash on hand.
HD118 (Toss Up): Democratic challenger Frank Ramirez out-raised Rep. John Lujan (R-San Antonio), $43K to $39K, since January 1 but trails the incumbent in cash on hand, $36K to $7K. Lujan out-raised Ramirez, $637K to $69K, during 2021, which included their special election face-off.
No Senate race is competitive from a fundraising and cash-on-hand standpoint. The closest might be SD9 (Likely R), where Democratic challenger Gwenn Burud out-raised Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), $153K to $63K, since January 1. Hancock has a nearly $3.5M advantage in cash on hand.
Federal candidates’ July quarterly campaign finance reports were also due Friday. Candidates on the November ballot raised more than $12.3M for the period, led by U.S. Reps. Dan Crenshaw ($1.9M), Jake Ellzey ($682K), Mayra Flores ($645K) and Ronny Jackson ($632K) and Republican candidate Wesley Hunt ($822K). Of those, only Flores is in a competitive seat, CD34 (Lean D). She out-raised U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen), $645K to $259K, for the period, but Gonzalez has a $1.3M advantage in cash on hand.
In open CD15 (Toss Up), Republican Monica De la Cruz-Hernandez out-raised Democratic nominee Michelle Vallejo, $560K to $332K, for the quarter. Vallejo was in a runoff.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who is not on the ballot this year, raised nearly $1.1M for the quarter, bringing his total contributions for the 2021-22 cycle to nearly $16M.
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