AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Republicans work to secure another round of Gov. Greg Abbott’s leadership, and Democrats attempt to flip Texas blue in the governor role for the first time since 1994, huge amounts of money are flooding into the race for Texas governor.
Brian Smith, a professor of political science at St. Edward’s University, expects Abbott and former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke will end up on top of their respective parties, which could make Texas the center of national political attention and huge amounts of political funding.
“If things get close, and O’Rourke and Abbott are close like [Senator Ted] Cruz and O’Rourke were, that’s going to get a lot of attention and a lot of outside money,” Smith said. “There would nothing better for the Democrats in terms of boosting their morale than saying we flipped Texas at the governor level.”
O’Rourke’s campaign announced Monday that the Democratic candidate to beat had raised $7.2 million in just over six weeks. The campaign claims it’s a record-breaking amount of money for a Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate.
“While Abbott is taking million-dollar checks from the CEOs who profited off of the grid collapse, we’re receiving support from people all over Texas who want to ensure that our state finally leads in great jobs, world-class schools and the ability to see a doctor,” O’Rourke said in a release.
Meanwhile, Abbott announced Monday that he has raised more than double that amount over the final months of 2021 and is now sitting on $65 million for his reelection campaign.
“These generous contributions from people all across Texas show just how excited Texans are for this campaign,” said Abbott. He said of the roughly 159,000 contributions reported, roughly 44,000 of those were first-time contributors.
A full accounting of both campaigns’ contributors should become public this week. Texas has no limits on campaign contributions.
Other candidates for the role include former Republican Senator Don Huffines and Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, who just last year resigned from his role as state party chairman.
“There are a lot of candidates running but you always get that in Texas, because if I am a third or fourth or fifth candidate on the ballot, I still have the chance of a runoff,” Smith explained. Still, he says this race doesn’t have the same caliber of candidates we’ve seen in previous races.