January 16, 2014

Texas politics fundraising — Lite Guv division + Dewhurst news

Other than having our way officially cut clear of the fundraising spinning by the Wendy Davis campaign, the funding numbers that most interest me are on the other side of the coin, in another race — the Republican battle for lieutenant governor, with incumbent David Dewhurst, aka Dudley Dewless, trying to hold off the Three Blind Mice of Todd Staples, Jerry Patterson and Dan Patrick.

I will state that, in discussions with P.Diddie of Brains and Eggs, in handicapping this race a couple of months back, I gave Staples the best odds of beating the Dew, while he leaned toward Patterson, or Patrick.

Right now, the news on money seems best overall for Staples and Patrick, per the StartleGram.

Dewhurst raised $2.33 million in the last half of 2013 and reports $1.41 million on hand in resources.

Staples raised $1.11 million and has $3.11 million on hand.

Patrick reports $1.66 million raised and $3.08 million on hand.

And Patterson?

Ahh, the Texas Ethics Commission shows two, old, dissolved committees for him. Nothing new. Very, very, interesting. However, the StartleGram reports him $816K raised and $564K left. However, in a race with everybody looking for an edge, Patterson could get pummeled over his late filing.

Update: I didn't click on his filer ID after seeing the two old, dissolved committees. He apparently did get his numbers in, barely, on time. But, not having an official campaign committee also seems to be a "tell" against his chances.

So, Dewhurst raised the most, but blew through the most. Especially if this race goes to a runoff, that helps whomever remains. (I'm assuming Dewless will be one of the two finalists.)

I'm going to keep my bet on the Toddster to be the other one of those two. He has a statewide office already, unlike Patrick, and one with high visibility in rural, GOP-heavy counties. And, he's raised, and accumulated, money, unlike Patterson.

Sometimes, spinning or not, fundraising totals don't mean much. But, in a competitive race like this, I think the numbers are legit tea leaves.

Perry's got a follow-up on how Harris County (Houston) GOP squabbles could undermine Patrick. 

There's a sidebar on why I lean Staples. He works the traditional media hard, as does his would-be Ag successor, Eric Opelia. Emails every day to newspapers, and I assume top TV and radio, about how he's doing this, got that endorsement, etc. (Sidebar: Abbott does the same, Davis doesn't.)

Meanwhile, the Dew has said that, if re-elected, this is his last term. Also interesting. Ted Cruz comes up for re-election in four years. Is Dew going to drop out of politics, try Cruz again, or look for the GOP gubernatorial nod if Davis somehow beats Greg Abbott this fall?

My bet is "retire." He's 68 now.

This is one of those could be smart, could be dumb announcements.

He could be appealing to GOP mainliners to give him a fairwell tour in the office. On the other hand, his challengers now have the argument of "why wait to make a change"? And frankly, I lean toward it being a glass half-empty statement. Just like Patterson's last-minute financial filing, any club, no matter how small, is a weapon.

Heck, I can picture an ad like: "Help Me Give David Dewhurst a Well-Deserved Early Retirement."

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On the Democratic side, Leticia Van de Putte hauled in about $290K and has $250K on hand.

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