- Twitter / Lupe Valdez
Lupe Valdez, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has $222,000 to spend with less than four months until Election Day, according to her campaign. It is a figure that continues to put her far behind Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the money race.
Abbott, who is seeking a second term, has $28.9 million in the bank — or 130 times Valdez's balance. And that is after he unloaded $16 million late last month to reserve TV time for the fall.
Abbott and Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, faced a Monday deadline to report their latest fundraising figures to the Texas Ethics Commission. In addition to her cash-on-hand total, Valdez was set to report that she raised $336,000 from May 13 through June 30, while Abbott has already disclosed raking in $10.9 million from Feb. 25 through June 30.
The length of the most recent reporting period varies for Abbott and Valdez due to the process by which they won their parties' nominations. Abbott secured the GOP's nod outright in March with minimal opposition, while Valdez went to a runoff in May, where she defeated Andrew White, the son of former Gov. Mark White.
In a statement on her latest fundraising numbers, Valdez noted that 97 percent of donations came from Texans and 77 percent were under $100.
"These are hard-earned funds coming from everyday Texans who know that our vision for the future is the way forward," Valdez said. "We may not have tens of millions, but we've gained ground in the polls over the last two months and our message continues to resonate with everyday Texans."
Monday's reporting deadline for candidates running for state offices came a day after a similar deadline for federal candidates running for Congress, in which several Texas Democrats reported outraising their Republican opponents. Most notably, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke raised more than twice as much as Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who O'Rourke is vying to unseat. Federal candidates face limits on donations that state candidates in Texas do not.
There were a couple of other bright spots for Democrats on the most recent fundraising reports for their statewide candidates. Kim Olson, who’s challenging GOP Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, reported having more cash on hand than him, $171,000 to $138,000. (Miller had a competitive primary in March, while Olson did not.)
Justin Nelson, who’s running for Texas attorney general, disclosed having $1.1 million on hand, the most of any Democratic statewide candidate except for O'Rourke. Nelson got to that balance after drawing $755,000 in contributions during the first six months of the year.
Still, the Republican incumbent, Ken Paxton, easily outpaced Nelson in the money race, disclosing he has $7.2 million in the bank after raising $2.5 million during the first half of the year. His fundraising continued to prove stout despite a nearly 3-year-old securities fraud case that is not expected to be resolved before Election Day.
In races for Texas' highest civil and criminal courts — whose 18 combined seats are all held by Republicans — two Democratic challengers reported more cash on hand than the incumbent: R.K. Sandill, who's challenging Justice John Devine of the Texas Supreme Court; and Maria Terri Jackson, who's challenging Sharon Keller, the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Sandill outraised Devine by more than $100,000. He currently has $337,463.94 on hand — the most of any statewide judicial candidate.
Judicial elections in Texas tend to draw less scrutiny and attract fewer donors than other statewide races, partially because of tight restrictions on campaign donations to judicial candidates.