O’Rourke outraises Abbott in final month of Texas governor’s race

Gubernatorial candidate Beto ORourke speaks to attendees during a Get Out the Vote Rally hosted by the Asian American Democrats of Texas in Houstons Asiatown in October. ORourke outraised Gov. Greg Abbott in the last campaign report before Election Day. (Briana Vargas For The Texas Tribune, Briana Vargas For The Texas Tribune)

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Beto O’Rourke outraised Gov. Greg Abbott for a third consecutive time in October, according to campaign finance reports that came out Tuesday.

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They were the last major filings due before the Nov. 8 election, and they showed O’Rourke hauled in $10.5 million from Sept. 30 through Oct. 29. Abbott got $8.8 million in contributions during the monthlong period.

Both candidates spent over $20 million and were well on their way to depleting their war chests by the end of October, with O’Rourke disclosing $4.3 million cash on hand and Abbott $3.7 million.

While O’Rourke continues to trail Abbott in polls, fundraising has been a decisive bright spot for his campaign. He has now outraised Abbott on campaign-finance filings dating back to February and erased Abbott’s once-daunting cash-on-hand advantage.

O’Rourke’s campaign said his most recent haul showed momentum in the final days of the race, noting he “raised more per day during this [reporting] period than he raised during the last one.” Abbott’s campaign expressed confidence it had enough money to win.

“With the end of this campaign in sight, we have the resources we need to show Texans the clear contrast between” the two candidates, Abbott campaign chair Gardner Pate said in a statement Tuesday.

O’Rourke far surpassed Abbott in the number of donations he received during the period, roughly 237,000 to Abbott’s 29,000. O’Rourke’s average donation size was $44, while Abbott’s was $302.

The biggest donations that Abbott collected were $500,000 each from Plano investment adviser Ken Fisher, Midland oil mogul Javaid Anwar and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. O’Rourke’s largest checks were $250,000 from Austin doctor Carolyn Oliver and $100,000 from the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

O’Rourke got a third of his funds raised from outside of Texas, while that figure was 15% for Abbott. When it came to the share of out-of-state donors, Abbott’s was 43% and O’Rourke’s was 46%.

In other statewide races, Attorney General Ken Paxton raised eyebrows by submitting a report Monday that claimed he raised $2.4 million but did not include any donor names. The report said the “totals are estimated and will be itemized.” He submitted a corrected report Tuesday that appeared to include the last names of donors but not their first names. The law requires full names. Paxton has a history of submitting late and incomplete reports.

Paxton’s Democratic opponent, Rochelle Garza, reported $1.1 million in fundraising.

And in the open race for land commissioner, Democratic nominee Jay Kleberg reported a $250,000 donation from H-E-B CEO Charles Butt, making up 40% of his haul and allowing Kleberg to narrowly outraise Republican rival Dawn Buckingham. Butt recently endorsed Kleberg, a conservationist scion of the King Ranch family, saying he is “a natural for the job.”

Carla Astudillo contributed to this story.

Disclosure: H-E-B has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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