The Texas Tribune reports that the first fundraising numbers of the second half of 2013 have come out in the Governor’s race, and the results are surprising to no end. State Senator Wendy Davis, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has raised $12.2M. Meanwhile, Attorney General Greg Abbott, the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination, raised $11.5M. Davis’ full showing, however, included a joint SuperPAC with Battleground Texas, something that Greg Abbott did not have an equivalent thereto.
More importantly, Davis’ donations mainly stemmed from local sources and included at least one individual from all 254 counties in the State. Additionally, over 71k unique donors contributed to the Davis campaign. In comparison, at this point in the 2010 campaign, Bill White –the Democratic nominee in 2010– had raised money from well south of half that number, with just a fraction of the money. More importantly, of all of Davis’ millions, about 70% of it has come from Texas, and the vast majority in quantities of $25 or less.
The Abbott campaign was quick to strike back, accusing Davis once more of “fuzzy math” for confounding the SuperPAC affiliated with her campaign with her campaign directly. However, such an attack fails to note that this SuperPAC is somewhat dedicated to Davis’ campaign the way that Priorities USA went with Obama or Restore our Future with Romney.
Money does not equal votes, of course. Accordingly, Democrats would be unwise to assume this is automatically a competitive race now, because the most recent polling paints a very different picture. Personally, I think a Democrat –in this political climate– would have to raise about twice as much as a Republican in order to transform a Texas Statewide election into a true tossup.
More important than money is the ability to truly connect with voters, and even more important is actually motivating someone to be a voter. Democrats have a very hard time making their way to the polling place in this State, which is partially because the deck is stacked against and partially because many are lazy. Not a good combination.
However, being able to run a competent campaign is only possible when it is a well-oiled machine. And the oil to run these campaigns is cold, hard cash.