Dave Montgomery Austin Correspondent
AUSTIN – State Sen. Wendy Davis has hauled in more than $12 million through combined fund-raising efforts for her Democratic gubernatorial bid, including a committee jointly tied to the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas, her campaign reported Monday. And Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott, the dominant Republican candidate for governor, raised $16.3 million throughout 2013, finishing the year with $27 million cash on hand, according to the Abbott campaign. The fund-raising totals, which the campaigns announced in advance of a midnight Wednesday reporting deadline, sustained predictions that the race to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Perry could result in eye-popping spending before it concludes with the Nov. 4 general election. Democrats have united behind Davis in an effort to reclaim an office that their party hasn’t held in nearly two decades. The two-term Fort Worth state senator jumped into the race in early October after amassing national political celebrity by waging a Senate filibuster against a Republican-led abortion bill that was ultimately passed into law.
Conversely, Abbott, the state’s chief legal official since 2002, has been widely portrayed as the Republican heir apparent to Perry, Texas’ longest serving governor. Abbott had nearly $21 million in the bank months before Davis formally announced her candidacy. The reporting period for candidates in the March 4 primaries covers fund-raising from July 1 through Dec. 31. Abbott reported $11.5 million for the six-month period. Davis reported a total of $12.2 million, including $8.7 million through her two main campaign accounts and an additional $3.5 million through the Texas Victory Committee. The victory committee was formed as a joint fund-raising effort between the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas, which was launched by former campaign operatives for President Obama last year to help forge a Democratic resurgence in Texas. Abbott supporters questioned the inclusion of the Victory Committee figures into Davis’ overall totals in the governor’s race. “This is more fuzzy math from Sen. Davis and her campaign,” said Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch. But Davis spokesman Bo Delp defended the figures, asserting that Davis outraised Abbott during the 2013 reporting period. “The big takeaway is that every dollar raised in the Texas Victory Committee is going to be a dollar spent to help get Wendy Davis elected to be governor of Texas,’” he said. “The fact is that she raised $12.2 million . I think you’ll find the math adds up perfectly.” Davis raised $4.2 million through the gubernatorial fund-raising campaign that went into operation when she launched her candidacy on Oct. 3. The senator’s office-holder/candidate account, which was formed before Davis’ gubernatorial bid, raised $4.5 million.