The Corner

Wendy Davis Outraised Greg Abbott over Past Six Months — or Did She?

Last night the Wendy Davis campaign released its fundraising numbers and generated the hoped-for headlines: “Wendy Davis Outraises Greg Abbott in Texas Gov Race”:

Davis said she raised more than $12.2 million from July through December, while Abbott brought in $11.5 million over the same period. But Abbott, the state attorney general, now has $27 million in the bank for the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Rick Perry in the GOP stronghold.

Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, did not state her cash on hand. She has an uphill battle in Texas, which hasn’t elected a Democrat as governor since Ann Richards in 1990. Political experts estimate it will take $40 million for a candidate to mount a successful campaign in a state where expensive TV ads are necessary.

In addition to the caveat that she didn’t report her cash on hand (she’ll have to do so later today, the deadline to file), a number of commentators, and the Abbott campaign, were quick to point out that the $12.2 million to $11.5 million comparison was not exactly apples to apples. The Davis campaign actually raised $8.7 million, while $3.5 million was hauled in by a separate PAC, the Texas Victory Committee, a joint fundraising effort between her campaign and Battleground Texas, a national Democratic organizing and get-out-the-vote PAC.

The Davis campaign maintains that all of the funds will be spent toward electing Davis, so it makes sense to tally them up into one figure.

One benefit of creating the separate joint fundraising committee, Rice University political scientist Mark Jones explained to the Austin Statesman, is that it “could, theoretically (only a review of the actual donors and the amounts they contribute will tell), serve as a conduit for some out of state donors to support Davis without their contributions providing additional fodder for attack ads against her by the Abbott campaign, with claims such as ’liberals from California and New York are bankrolling the Davis campaign.’”

Underscoring what is likely to be a campaign theme, Abbott reported that 97 percent of his donors came from Texas. “This is a campaign by Texans, for Texans, and Greg Abbott is humbled and excited by the widespread support from across the state,” his campaign manager, Wayne Hamilton, said in a statement.