Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign committee raised $8.25 million the last nine days of June.
That’s very good. Nearly $1 million a day.
At that pace, he could run for president.
But, to put it in context, those were the first nine days Abbott could receive contributions since being elected governor, so it reflects a certain pent-up energy.
To avoid the indelicate impression that influence might be being bought or sold, state officeholders in Texas cannot receive contributions during biennial legislative sessions and the veto period that follows. The prohibition extends from Dec. 14 to June 21.
Even so, the fundraising numbers – released by his campaign Wednesday ahead of next week’s filing deadline with the Texas Ethics Commission – only enhance Abbott’s reputation as an epic fundraiser and a politician who knows that the best way to discourage a serious challenge, or defeat an opponent, is with a big pile of cash.
Abbott’s campaign committee has $17.7 million in cash on hand. Two years ago, as he embarked on his campaign for governor, he had $20 million in the bank. Abbott is not up for re-election until 2018.
A statement from Abbott issued by his campaign committee suggested that strong fundraising numbers were a vote of confidence in his early tenure.
“Texans from across the state continue to invest in our vision to build a better Texas, and I am grateful for their steadfast support,” Abbott said. “While we achieved much of what we set out to accomplish this legislative session by improving education, building more roads and securing our border, there is still more work to be done to create an even brighter future.”
While it is very early to be talking about re-election, the numbers only buttress the impression that Abbott is virtually impregnable. He defeated his Democratic opponent, Sen. Wendy Davis, by 20 percentage points in November. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the only candidate anyone could imagine challenging Abbott, has said he has no designs on the governor’s office. The dimensions of Davis’ defeat put a damper on any talk of 2018 being their year, and it is not a presidential year when turnout is higher and Democrats have the potential to do a little better.
Also from the governor’s statement: “I look forward to continuing to travel the state, speaking with and hearing from Texans who share my goal to grow jobs, strengthen freedoms and ultimately make Texas a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Abbott uses campaign money to pay for all his travel as governor, except in the case of travel related to state emergencies, as in his visits to areas hit by recent flooding.
According to the Abbott campaign, the money raised came in more than 2,000 donations, more than 80 percent collected on-line, and including several donations in Bitcoin.