AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, after being eclipsed by Beto O’Rourke in the last two fundraising periods, is outpacing the Democrat in the dollar chase in the campaign’s final days.
Over the past week, Abbott has received nearly $860,000, compared with just under $700,000 for O’Rourke, according to reports the two gubernatorial hopefuls submit daily to the Texas Ethics Commission.
While Abbott was the beneficiary of a Florida telecom entrepreneur’s purchase of $280,000 worth of ads on his behalf, O’Rourke received a late check for $475,000 from the Service Employees International Union-Texas.
Their battle has shattered records for money raised and spent in a Texas governor’s race as it winds down toward Tuesday. Since July 1, 2021, Abbott has raised $83.6 million and O’Rourke $77.3 million. In those 16 months, with Abbott tapping his massive cash balance, the two rivals have spent more than $200 million.
Under state law, political committees such as the two men’s campaigns must disclose to the Texas Ethics Commission any donor’s contributions that in the aggregate exceed $6,450 from one contributor and were made beginning on the ninth day before the election and ending at noon on the day before the election.
Political committees must also report direct expenditures of more than $1,890 for one candidate or of more than $28,330 in direct expenditures for a group of candidates.
According to a Dallas Morning News analysis, here are the amounts recently raised by Abbott and O’Rourke.
- 11/1: $107,739.71
- 11/2: $173,616
- 11/3: $389,408
- 11/4: $188,072.21
- Total: $858,835.92
- 11/1: $605,057
- 11/2: $17,700
- 11/3: $57,500
- 11/4: $14,000
- Total: $694,257
Abbott’s last-minute contributions included $60,000 from the political action committee for S&B Engineers & Constructors, a Houston-based firm specializing in petrochemical refineries, terminals and pipelines, and $50,000 from David Killam of Laredo, whose family-owned company is a land developer, ranch owner and oil and gas producer.
On Wednesday, Freddie Figgers, a Florida telecommunications entrepreneur, made an in-kind contribution to Abbott of $280,000 worth of “political advertising.”
Asked about what type of ads, an Abbott strategist responded in an email: “We don’t discuss our strategy and tactics beyond what is required for full disclosure under state law.”
Over the past eight days, Abbott traveled from the Panhandle to Beaumont to the Rio Grande Valley for fundraisers, often using wealthy Texans’ private planes, according to his reports.
Developer H. Ross Perot Jr. of Dallas donated plane expenses to Abbott of $38,016 on Nov. 1. The governor also accepted donated plane rides from Lufkin investor Benjamin Winston ($28,000); Will and Richard Scott, current or former executives of TGS, a Beaumont-based railyard construction company ($21,080); Kilgore oil industry executive Ruben Martin III ($23,100); Mount Pleasant businessman Ricky Baker, whose plane Abbott used to fly to a May 24 Huntsville fundraiser, hours after the Uvalde school shooting ($11,961); and Gary Martin of Marble Falls, president of Falcon Bay Energy LLC ($16,400).
O’Rourke received $475,000 from SEIU-Texas on Oct. 31, his eighth-largest contribution of the campaign and his biggest single contribution from a union. The American Federation of Teachers, which has given steadily to O’Rourke, made a $300,000 contribution to him in June.
Asked if teachers’ unions have been the labor movement’s biggest contributors to the former El Paso congressman, O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans replied in an email, “Yes, teachers are our most common contributor by occupation and teachers’ unions are our biggest union contributor.”
In the past week, O’Rourke also received $25,000 from Nancy A. Nasher of Dallas, a co-owner of NorthPark Center as well as lawyer and philanthropist.
The Democrat also collected checks from Mexican American billionaire businessman Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND Snacks ($10,000); Nancy Sanders, a retiree in Dallas ($10,000); Dallas philanthropist and investor Marguerite Steed Hoffman, a major benefactor of the Dallas Museum of Art who’d previously given O’Rourke $245,000 in 13 installments ($3,000); and Houston venture capitalist Charles W. Tate, a onetime GOP donor who’d previously given O’Rourke at least $50,000 ($5,000).