DALLAS — The numbers were astounding. After announcing a run for governor, Democrat Beto O’Rourke raised $7.6 million in 46 days.
Meantime, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott raised $18.9 million over the last six months. And his campaign cash register now holds more than $65 million.
“It’s fair to say money will be no object in the gubernatorial race in Texas,” ABC News political director Rick Klein said on Inside Texas Politics.
And the money will continue to flow. Klein says O’Rourke has a proven ability to excite donors nationally and in Texas, along with a deep bench of potential contributors. And the governor has proven over the years he’s a “juggernaut of fundraising.”
Klein says the 2022 gubernatorial race in Texas could blow right past the more than $100 million raised collectively between O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 race for U.S. Senate, which was a record. Cruz defeated O’Rourke by only 2.6 percentage points.
Watch this segment here:
Klein says just like back then, Texas voters should expect to see a lot of ads and a lot of big spending.
“I think it’s very conceivable that we’re going to blow past any record that we’ve had before in terms of spending for a statewide race for governor or for Senate,” said Klein. “Texas is a very expensive state to run in because of all the different media markets. You have to have a different ad strategy in Dallas versus Houston versus San Antonio versus El Paso.”
Klein told Inside Texas Politics he doesn’t think there’s any way O’Rourke can gather as many resources as Abbott because of a couple of factors. The first is simply that the governor had such a head start. He’s been preparing for the race for quite a while even though he just officially announced at the beginning of January.
The other big factor, Klein says, is what he’s calling possible “Beto fatigue.”
“Something I’ve heard from national Democrats as well as some in Texas is we’ve put our resources and our hopes and ambition into Beto O’Rourke twice. He came close to Ted Cruz. He didn’t come close in a much-hyped run for the presidency. Why is that going to be a good use of our money when we’ve got critical Senate and gubernatorial races elsewhere on the map.”
The Texas Primary is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.