A recent review by the Associated Press found that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has taken in more cash from donors than any other governor in U.S. history. Since 2013, Abbott has accepted more than $120 million in political contributions.
Is he running for president, or locked in a tight reelection battle? Actually, the answer to both questions is “no.”
Paul Weber, an Austin-based reporter for The Associated Press says the only other governors whose fundraising comes close to Abbott’s are former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New York’s current governor, Andrew Cuomo.
“Really, Abbott’s in a league of his own when it comes to raising this kind of money,” Weber says.
Abbott has not expressed open interest in running for president – a next step for many high-dollar fundraisers. But Weber says he isn’t doing the kinds of things a potential presidential candidate would be doing, like participating in national events, or otherwise raising his profile outside the state of Texas.
Weber says Abbott’s cash advantage helps him achieve political ends in other ways, like helping candidates he supports.
“He certainly has enough money to help out folks in his party, and to build the legislature in a sense that he wants, to pass his initiatives,” Weber says.
Abbott’s money comes largely from wealthy Texans, Weber says. They include oil producers, and contractors building highway projects for the state. Some 70 percent of the donations come in the amount of $10,000 or more.
One donor, Weber says, owns the Circuit of the Americas racetrack, outside Austin, a project that has received events-promotion funding directly from the governor’s office.
Weber says Abbott spokespeople have denied conflict-of-interest charges, saying that many of the governor’s appointees to state offices are not donors.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.