Texas governor candidates break fundraising records ahead of midterm elections

Published: Oct. 15, 2022 at 12:05 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - With less than a month left in the state midterm elections, all campaigns were required to turn over their financial documents to the Texas Ethics Commission.

According to the financial documents, this year’s gubernatorial race has broken Texas records with more than a combined $200 million raised between incumbent Republican Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

O’Rourke’s campaign has also broken state records after it raised $27.6 million in the previous quarterly period, the most any candidate for state office has raised in one time frame.

The increase in cash flow for this race doesn’t come as a surprise, Texas Tech political science professor Joel Sievert said. Sievert said that fundraising emails and texts sent out by campaigns accounts for the increase because it’s able to contact a wider range of potential supporters, including from out of state.

“If [a campaign] can get 1,000 people to donate $3, it’s actually much bigger in aggregate because it’s easier to ask more people for a few dollars than for a big check,” Sievert said.

During the latest financial period, Governor Abbott’s campaign raised $24.8 million, whereas O’Rourke’s raised $25.1, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.

Sievert said that most of this money goes toward political advertising.

Governor Abbott’s campaign outspent O’Rourke’s campaign this financial period by about $21 million, most of which went to the political ads aired on TV and online.

“There’s obviously a lot of money in politics,” Sievert said. “I think a lot of it is probably being driven by competition in fear that if [they] don’t spend the money, they’ll lose the seat.”

Political data doesn’t show that political ads sway the opinions of voters, but rather reaffirms how they already felt about the candidates.

“It feeds into pre-existing beliefs, so at the end of the day nothing really moves much,” Sievert said.

Governor Abbott continues to lead O’Rourke in the polls by 7.2% as of October 8, according to political polling website FiveThirtyEight.