AUSTIN –– Democrat Wendy Davis got several huge contributions in her race for Texas governor, including a whopping $1 million donation from an Austin doctor and a $250,000 gift from a Fort Worth investor who co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The contributions, disclosed in a new report to the Texas Ethics Commission, demonstrate that Davis can tap the sort of big-dollar donors who have eluded Democratic candidates in recent years. But in that respect it will be hard to outperform her likely Republican opponent Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, who is expected to report many six-figure contributions among the $27 million he has in the bank so far.
Topping the list of contributors to Davis' gubernatorial campaign is Dr. Carolyn Oliver of Austin, who gave her the $1 million gift. Contributions of that size, particularly from individuals, are rare.
Democrat Chris Bell, the party’s nominee for governor in 2006, got one from the late Houston trial lawyer John O’Quinn, but typically wealthy donors break them up into smaller chunks spread out over time. In Texas, there is no limit on how much donors can give candidates.
Robert Patton, the Dodgers co-owner, gave Davis $250,000. Another Fort Worth benefactor, Louise Carvey, gave $150,000. She also got sizable contributions from the Washington, D.C.-based American Federation of Teachers ($125,000), plaintiff's law firms and groups committed to preserving abortion rights, such as Planned Parenthood Votes and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The figures come from the first disclosure made by Davis’ main fundraising vehicle, her official campaign for governor. It’s one of three state committees dedicated to getting her elected, so a full accounting of what she raised and how much she has to spend for now won't be available until all the reports are in.
A total of $4.1 million was raised by the Wendy R. Davis for Governor, Inc. committee. Davis is claiming a total of $12.2 million raised by the three committees. The gubernatorial campaign reported having $3 million in the bank.