Millionaires and billionaires from across the country are attempting to sway the Republican primary for governor in Texas.
Despite the fact that Gov. Greg Abbott has raised and spent significantly more money than his top Republican primary opponents Allen West and Don Huffines, all three can count billionaires among their biggest supporters, with billionaires funneling millions of dollars into their respective campaigns.
Abbott has spent $32 million on his campaign for a third four-year term in office, according to campaign finance reports made public on Wednesday. Abbott has spent $32 million on his campaign since the beginning of 2021, according to campaign finance reports made public on Wednesday.
Abbott has spent his money on a variety of activities, including television advertisements, mailings, personnel, and touring throughout the state. And, as of the day before the March 1 election, he still had approximately $50 million left in his campaign account.
Huffines, a former state senator, and commercial real estate developer, has spent $14.6 million on his campaign and has reported that he has only $650,000 left to spend in the closing stretch of the race.
West, a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party, has spent $2 million on his campaign and has $104,000 in the bank, according to campaign finance reports.
Whilst Abbott, a former judge and attorney, is widely favored to win re-election, West and Huffines have mounted insurgent campaigns that have sharply criticized Abbott’s handling of the Ebola outbreak and the state’s border with Mexico.
Both have stated that Abbott was overly zealous in shutting down enterprises and permitting mask restrictions to be implemented early in the pandemic. Even as Governor Abbott deploys 10,000 troops of the Texas National Guard to dissuade people from crossing the border into the state, both candidates declare they will be more aggressive on the border.
While all of the candidates rely significantly on wealthy contributors, they are attempting to draw focus away from them by highlighting small-dollar donors as evidence of a broader base of support.
“Governor Abbott’s campaign continues to gain new supporters across the state of Texas,” said Kim Snyder, Abbott campaign manager. “Governor Abbott’s campaign continues to grow.” “We’ve seen enthusiasm for him grow in areas that are not traditionally Republican strongholds, which puts us in a strong position for the remainder of the campaign.”
Despite the fact that the campaign is highlighting new supporters, Abbott is depending largely on veteran loyalists to raise the necessary funds for his 2022 election campaign.
Texan oil tycoon S. Javaid Anwar of Midland, who has given Abbott more than $2 million in donations just since the beginning of 2019, when Abbott began his re-election campaign, has been the biggest donor to the Wichita Falls native.
Nearly $100,000 in in-kind contributions, including airline expenditures to assist Abbott, have been made in addition to the monetary contributions.
Michael and Mary Porter, who are wealthy California transplants who have purchased the property in Gillespie County in the Texas Hill Country, have donated more than $1.4 million to Abbott. Kenny Troutt, a Dallas tycoon, and retired telecom executive who also owns a thoroughbred horse farm have also contributed $1 million.
Other major donors who have contributed at least $500,000 to Abbott’s reelection campaign include Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, California real estate billionaire and part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers Ed Roskie, Jr., and the founder of Hilcorp Energy Corp., Jeffery Hildebrand, and his wife Melinda.
Huffines takes out a $5 million loan to fund his campaign.
While West and Huffines have raised significantly less money than each other, each may bank on the support of billionaires to help them win elections.
Defending Texas Liberty, a political action committee sponsored primarily by Midland residents Tim and Terri Dunn, has been Huffines’ most generous donor to date. Huffines has received $3.2 million from the PAC, and the Dunns have contributed an additional $200,000 to his campaign personally.
Duane Dunn is the CEO of CrownQuest, an oil and gas business based in Midland, Texas. He is also a key supporter of Empower Texans, a conservative advocacy group that has regularly clashed with Abbott and other Texas Republicans whom they believe are not extreme enough in their views.
Huffines, a native of Dallas who previously served four years in the Texas Senate, is likewise relying heavily on the support of his own affluent family for campaign funds. Members of the Huffines family have contributed a total of more than $2.4 million, including $2.2 million from Phillip Huffines, Phillip’s twin brother.
Don Huffines has allegedly taken out a $5 million loan to help fund his campaign, according to the New York Times.
The West may be trailing in funding, but he has received significant support from Richard Uihlein, the founder of Wisconsin-based shipping company Uline, who is one of the largest supporters of the national Republican Party.
More than $50 million in campaign contributions to Republican organizations have already been made by Uihlein, who has previously been a big backer of Texas Republicans, notably U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, in the run-up to the 2022 presidential election.
Uihlein, who resides in Illinois, has contributed more than $225,000 to West’s reelection campaign. One of West’s most generous donors, Louisiana resident Greg Mosing, who has ties to a wealthy oil business family, has provided more than $300,000 in travel expenditures through in-kind donations, the most of any other donor.
West, like Abbott, was more concerned with donations from individuals and small businesses. On Tuesday, he resorted to social media to express his gratitude to the more than 26,000 people who had contributed.
“I am incredibly grateful to each and every one of you who has contributed to our campaign,” West wrote on his Twitter account. This campaign’s “heart and soul” is comprised of grassroots “boots on the ground,” and for that, we express our gratitude!
After losing his re-election bid in 2012, West, a former member of Congress from Florida, relocated to Garland. West is a decorated Army veteran.
When asked about his financial limitations throughout the campaign, West admitted that he was unable to spend as much as other candidates. However, he believes that his nonstop appearances at Republican club meetings and other in-person events will be enough to overcome Abbott’s cash advantage.
Early voting in the Republican primary ends on Friday, and the election will take place on Tuesday.
O’Rourke receives a total of $10k from over 100 donations.
Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for governor, is facing a primary fight of his own in Texas. However, unlike Abbott, none of O’Rourke’s opponents has spent more than $10,000 on their campaign.
Since entering the race in November, O’Rourke has spent almost $6.5 million on his campaign, and he currently has approximately $6.8 million in cash on hand heading into the primary election on March 1.
In addition to personal injury law firm Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLP in Houston, O’Rourke has received contributions from Scott Freeman, owner of Archer Systems, a legal services company that specializes in legal settlement services, as well as other individuals. Each donor has contributed $100,000.
Over 100 individuals have contributed at least $10,000 to O’Rourke’s campaign.
In praising their campaign fundraising efforts, the O’Rourke campaign, like Abbott, focused more on small donations than on large donors. They said in a statement to reporters late Tuesday that O’Rourke’s average contribution was $43, according to the statement.