In a week that began with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison telling supporters she'll formally declare for governor next month, the lingering punch line might be not that she and Gov. Rick Perry have amassed more than $20 million in campaign funds between them, but that they're spending them at a rapid clip, underscoring the historical nature of their showdown in the March Republican primary.
Hutchison's campaign spent $1.86 million from January through June — more than any Texas gubernatorial hopeful in the same pre-election-year period since at least before 1993 when George W. Bush was plotting his challenge to Gov. Ann Richards.
Perry's campaign spent $1.32 million, second in recent history only to the $1.53 million he poured from his kitty into the same pre-election-year part of 2005 before he withstood three major challengers in 2006.
"It's a big state; you need resources to win," Perry spokesman Mark Miner said.
"Flat-out expensive," said Hutchison campaign chairman Rick Wiley. "No doubt about it."
Kay spent more than half a million more dollars than Rick from January to June, but she lost ground. My Rick peeps harken back to Tony Sanchez when he outspent their boss two to one and still got stomped.
I would be surprised if Kay keeps outspending Rick, even though she showed more on hand as of June 30. I have a feeling Rick has raised a mighty large amount since then, since he only had 9 days to raise money for the report.
Where the campaigns spent money was interesting to look at. Rick threw down some serious money on Ray Sullivan's wife. Kay spent less on more people... an interesting gambit...
Perry put about $371,000 into five consultants, the single greatest payment of $173,230 going in January to fund-raising expert Leslie Sullivan, whose husband, Ray, recently became chief of staff in Perry's government office.
Hutchison spread nearly $283,000 among nine consultants, including Wiley, who was brought in from Washington. Her single biggest payment of $40,000 went to Olsen & Shuvalov, the Austin-based direct-mail firm that blanketed Texans through the spring with Hutchison's fund-raising appeals. Overall, the firm fielded more than $360,000 from Hutchison's camp.
These campaigns will total 40 or 50 or even 60 million dollars by the time it is all done... kind of a waste if you ask me.