Elections 2022Texas GOP Candidates for Governor Off to a Strong Fundraising Start With Nearly $28 Million Combined

Greg Abbott and Don Huffines have combined to raise just shy of $30 million dollars despite the campaign only just getting started.
July 9, 2021
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Flush with cash and full of electoral hopes, Texas’ GOP gubernatorial candidates began showing off their fundraising muscles this week. In what will likely shape up to be one of the most expensive primaries in the country this cycle, tens of millions of dollars have already been raked in during the fledgling campaigns.

The incumbent, Governor Greg Abbott, unveiled a historic $18.7 million haul in 10 days since the legislative session fundraising moratorium concluded last month, bringing his cash on hand total to $55 million.

“Our record-breaking fundraising period is a testament to the success of the 87th Legislative Session and paints a clear picture of what matters most to Texans: freedom, opportunity, and economic prosperity,” Abbott said in the announcement.

According to the campaign, they received nearly 17,000 contributions in total — 94 percent of which came from within Texas.

Abbott has a history of fundraising prowess. In 2018, Abbott raised $78 million, vastly exceeding his $44 million total four years earlier when he first won election to the governorship.

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The day after Abbott’s announcement, one of Abbott’s challengers, former state Sen. Don Huffines, announced a $9.1 million haul — an impressive total in its own right. It’s vastly more than any other primary challenger to Greg Abbott has raised and more than both Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick raised during their respective primary challenges.

“Donations large and small continue to flow into our campaign from all across Texas as more Texans join our campaign,” Huffines said in the release, “together we will secure the border, abolish property taxes, and deliver further victories for taxpayers.”

The Huffines campaign did not provide a further breakdown of the fundraising total and did not say how much was self-financed by the time of publishing.

Among Huffines’ financial supporters are two of Texas’ most prominent conservative megadonors, Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, who have historically given millions of dollars to conservative candidates. 

When asked, a spokesman for the families told The Texan, “Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks both contributed $50,000 each to Don Huffines on the first finance report.”

“They will continue to be involved in the process.”

Huffines’ total is more than double what he raised in his unsuccessful Senate re-election campaign in 2018 when Democrats made significant gains in the Texas legislature.

A campaign official with Allen West told The Texan that he won’t be releasing fundraising numbers until the next filing deadline in January. West launched his gubernatorial campaign on July 1 and thus, his fundraising since isn’t subject to this filing window.

But the outgoing Texas GOP chair is no fundraising slouch himself. In his successful 2010 campaign for Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, West raised $6.5 million and he pulled in $19 million during his unsuccessful re-election campaign the following cycle.

The campaign for Chad Prather, a commentator on the conservative network BlazeTV, did not have any figures handy but said his filing will be made public next week before the deadline.

In a statement, Prather said, “We will be filing our campaign finance report as of June 30 and are proud that the majority are from everyday Texans! Our Campaign is off to a great start getting our message out to those who matter most in Texas; the Citizens of our Great State.”

For the first time in his career, Abbott is facing not just one but multiple legitimate and well-funded primary challengers. And their presence correlates with Abbott’s more forceful beating of the drum on conservative issues like securing the border and reforming elections.

Detailed reports for each candidate will become public by next Thursday, the deadline for this fundraising period.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.