DALLAS — Democrat Beto O’Rourke outraised incumbent Greg Abbott in the latest campaign finance filing on Friday.
O’Rourke reported more than $27 million to Abbott’s $25 million.
Both candidates are prolific fundraisers and these staggering amounts suggest the race for governor is tightening with more than 100 days until the November election.
O’Rourke did not report how much “cash on hand” his campaign has. Abbott has more than $40 million remaining and has dedicated an additional $20 million to campaign ads later this fall.
Political donations are vital because they let candidates craft their own message rather than have an opponent define them.
In addition to Friday’s new fundraising numbers, three recent polls show O’Rourke is closing the gap with Abbott. The governor’s lead over the former congressman has shrunk from 15 points a few months ago, to 5 points after the mass shooting at the Uvalde elementary school, the reversal of Roe v. Wade and the tight supply on the Texas electric grid.
On Tuesday, O'Rourke is taking his momentum on the road with a 49-day tour across the state.
In an interview for Sunday's Inside Texas Politics, O'Rourke said he is not worried that inflation might be a drag on Democrats in this state.
“The number one driver of inflation in the state of Texas is Greg Abbott. Our property taxes have gone up $20 billion dollars in the seven years that he’s been governor – that’s a 40% increase. On average our utility bills are going up $45 a month after the power grid failed in the energy capital of the world. He still hasn’t fixed the grid,” O’Rourke said on the television program.
Abbott’s campaign is driving an old ambulance through downtown Dallas this weekend as Democrats meet here for their state convention. The vehicle is wrapped with an attack ad against O’Rourke.
Abbott also sent the former speaker of the Texas House, Dennis Bonnen, to campaign for him in Dallas on Friday.
When asked about the tight conditions on the Texas electric grid twice this week, here’s what Bonnen said: “No, we’re actually not having issues that’s the point. You’ve had 25 times [since May 2022] that you’ve had historic demand on that grid, and it has not failed in any way. The lights haven’t gone off. You’re actually seeing one of the most successful things of Gov. Abbott’s tenure – 25 records of demand in this state and you haven’t had a problem one. And that’s success.”
Labor Day is the traditional start of political campaigns, when summer vacations end and Texans get back to their routines.
But this race is already going a third of the way through the summer. And as long as this remains close, expect both candidates to spend their money to compete for your attention.