Candidates running for office here in Texas, on Wednesday, filed their first campaign report of the year. The numbers coming in indicate the governor's race should really heat up this summer.
Campaign staff members spent the day stocking up, as well as contacting supporters and volunteers for the final push to the March Primaries. Flush with money both candidates are preparing for a fight that's expected to burn well through the summer.
"What we're going to see is both candidates with a lot of money running ads that will probably get progressively nastier as Election Day is going to come up," said St. Edwards's professor and political analyst Brian Smith.
The creative spin has already started with Wendy Davis. $12.2 million in contributions reported by her campaign is actually a blending of three different accounts. Davis' main fund netted $4.1 million. $4.5 million was rolled in from her state senate campaign. And a joint account with the Battleground Texas, called, the Victory Committee, provided an additional $3.5 million. The accounting maneuver doesn't surprise Smith.
"Obviously the campaign is going to make everything, and this is true of all campaigns, make everything into a positive, so she's got some good news, she is expanding on it, so it's not necessarily cheesy, and it's what all campaigns do," said Smith.
Some of the $12.2 million Davis raised has already been spent. Meanwhile, Republican Greg Abbott continues to stuff his campaign war chest. At $11.5 million he is reporting a little less money raised than what Davis collected between July and December. But with $27 million Abbott has a substantial lead in how much cash both reportedly have on hand after expenditures.
"And we are also seeing within the race two different kinds of fund raising messages, Abbott's I'm getting money from Texas, Wendy Davis, I'm getting money from small donors. And both candidates are playing that off as strength," said Smith.
Having a lot of money to spend is no guarantee of a win according to Smith who did his own campaign finance calculations.
In 2008, Bill White spent $24 million, more than what Davis now has, and he still lost to Rick Perry who spent $41 million. In a reversal of fortunes- Perry spent $28 million and won the 2002 race despite the $67-million Democrat Tony Sanchez spent.
The lesson according to Smith, a dollar sign is not the only key to victory.
"There's so many other factors going in, one thing is, things out of the state of Texas; national factors, Presidential popularity, the economy, are all going to play role in the fall election, and if those are not in your favor, all the money in the world isn't going to save you," said Smith.
Abbott and Davis are not the only people running for governor. For the GOP there's also, Lisa Fritsch, Larry Kilgore and Miriam Martinez. Democrat Ray Madrigal joins Davis. The Libertarians have Kathie Glass and Roger Lee Wrights squaring off for that Party nomination.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A look at the amounts raised by the top candidates for statewide office in Texas during the last half of 2013. There are no limits on campaign contributions in Texas. The party primary elections are on March 4.
Greg Abbott, Republican, $11.5 million raised, $27 million cash-on-hand
Wendy Davis, Democrat, $12.2 million raised, $9.5 million cash-on-hand
Lieutenant Governor's race:
Todd Staples, Republican, $2 million raised, $3.1 million cash-on-hand
Dan Patrick, Republican, $1.7 million raised, $3.1 million cash-on-hand
David Dewhurst, Republican, $2.32 million raised, $1.4 million cash-on-hand
Jerry Patterson, Republican, unavailable
Leticia Van de Putte, Democrat, unavailable
Attorney General's race:
Dan Branch, Republican, $1.9 million raised, $4.9 million cash-on-hand
Ken Paxton, Republican, $1 million raised, $2.3 million cash-on-hand
Barry Smitherman, Republican, $1.7 million raised, $2.1 million cash-on-hand
Sam Houston, raised, unavailable
State Comptroller's Race:
Glenn Hegar, Republican, $1.1 million raised, $2.57 million cash-on-hand
Harvey Hilderbran, Republican, $700,000 raised, $1.34 million cash-on-hand
Raul Torres, Republican, unavailable
Debra Medina, Republican, $80,000 raised, $52,000 cash-on-hand
Mike Collier, Democrat, $614,000 raised, $439,000 cash-on-hand