In Texas, Almost 90 Percent Of All Funding In State Races Goes To GOP Candidates

Over the last 13 months, 15 of the top 20 largest donations have gone to Gov. Greg Abbott.

By Jill AmentFebruary 20, 2018 12:47 pm, ,

As Texans head to the polls for early voting, a new Texas Tribune report has found that state campaigns have raised $67 million so far– and $57 million of that went to Republican candidates.

Jay Root, an investigative reporter for the Texas Tribune, has been breaking down the numbers. The report looks at donations made over the last 13 months to candidates in statewide races.

“Everything from your state house member to the supreme court to the governor,” Root says. The Tribune’s analysis does not include congressional races.

At first, the findings may not come as a surprise.

“This is a little bit of a ‘dog bites man’ story in a way because you would expect to see Republican dominance in Texas,” Root says. “We just didn’t expect it to be this lopsided. Almost 90 percent of the campaign money flowing into state elections so far in the 2018 election cycle is going to Republicans.”

Even though some people speculate that a potential ‘blue wave’ could flip seats throughout the country this year, Root says that might not apply to Texas races.

“In Texas, we don’t have limits, campaign finance limits,” he says. “You could literally give $1 million. In fact, somebody did literally give $1 million to Greg Abbott. Michael and Mary Porter. Texas ranchers.”

The report shows that Abbott received 15 of the top 20 largest donations, outperforming every other candidate by far.

“He got almost a third of all of the campaign money going into state elections from the beginning of 2017,” Root says.

So how far down the list do you have to go to find the largest Democratic donation?

“Way down,” says Root. “Greg Abbott, for example, has a dozen donations of $250,000. The top Democrat [donor] was from El Paso. She is a member of the Tigua Native American tribe. A state house candidate who’s running against Mary González got a $100,000 donation from the Tiguas. Her name is MarySue Femath.”

After that, he says, “it drops like a stone.” The second largest Democratic donation is $25,000.

“Now that sounds like a lot of money, $25,000,” Root says. But for Republican donors, “it’s nothing to see $150,000, $250,000 donations.” He says some donors even gave $250,000 donations to Abbott more than once.

“The difference in the size of these donations,” he says, “are tremendous.”

Written by Jen Rice.