Local donors have opened their wallets to the two leading candidates for governor as if there is no primary election.
On Tuesday, filings with the Texas Ethics Commission showed Republican Greg Abbott had raised more than $11.5 million in a little more than three months.
Democrat Wendy Davis reported raising more than $12 million in six months.
“Wendy Davis certainly has the appearance that she is going to run a competitive race,” said St. Mary’s University political sciences professor Larry Hufford.
Hufford says solidifying Davis’ competitiveness is the biggest impression the latest campaign finance filing makes.
Before Davis entered the race, Abbott reportedly had $27 million in cash on hand.
“He's going to have to engage in some serious fundraising even though he has twice the amount of money Davis has at this point in time because she is going to prove to be a formidable fundraiser,” Hufford said.
According to the latest filing, 97 percent of Abbott’s donations came from in state.
Davis’ camp reports 85 percent of her donations came from in state and a large majority of her contributions were less than $50.
“When Abbott says 97 percent came from Texans and when Wendy Davis says 85 percent gave me $50 or less, that’s public relations to show that you have grass roots support,” Hufford said. “In reality, big donors carry the day.”
San Antonio Republicans wrote some big checks to Abbott. He raised a little more than $1.2 million here. Among his top donors:
- $50,000 from NuStar Energy Chairman Bill Greehey;
- $50,000 from Argyle Investment Co. LLC executive J. Bruce Bugg; he also covered $3,838.40 in event expenses;
- $50,000 from Eugene Dawson, a civil engineer with Pape-Dawson engineers; and
- $50,000 from Valero Energy Corporation.
Davis raised a little more than $39,000 in San Antonio. Most donations were in smaller amounts than those raised by Abbott. Among her top donors:
- $20,000 from Karen Lee Zachry, adjunct professor at St. Mary's School of Law;
- $5,000 from Planned Parenthood South Texas Votes PAC;
- $5,000 from Castro for Congress;
- $2,500 from Julian Castro for Mayor; and
- $1,000 from State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer.
There were many individual donors who made much small contributions to Davis. One showed a man who gave ten $5 donations and one for $10.
Some groups gave to both candidates.
USAA's employee PAC gave Abbott $25,000 and Davis $2,000.
NuStar PAC gave $2,500 to Abbott and $500 to Davis.
Hufford believes the total sums donated locally to each candidate do not necessarily reflect a local favorite.
"Bexar County does not have the kind of wealth that Harris County or Dallas County has,” Hufford adds. “I think that voter turnout -- certainly among Latino voters -- will be heavy because of Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis will benefit from that.”
Sen. Van de Putte is running as the sole democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor.