White holding own in campaign fundraising
Most recent polls show Republican Gov. Rick Perry leading Democratic challenger and former Houston Mayor Bill White, but the incumbent trailed in the most recent round of competition for campaign contributions, financial reports released Thursday show.
Perry reported raising more than $7 million between Feb. 21 and June 30, compared with White's $7.4 million. And White, seeking to be Texas' first Democratic governor since the mid-1990s, reported having more than $9 million on hand, topping Perry's $5.8 million, according to the reports.
But overall, Perry, who went through a costly primary battle with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has raised more than $20 million for this race, compared with White's $16.6 million, records show.
The Republican primary was bruising in some ways, in that it forced Rick to spend a lot of money on an intraparty battle... but in other ways I think it sharpened him for the general election...
The campaign finance news came as a new Rasmussen Poll showed Perry leading White, 50 percent to 41 percent, slightly up from a mid-June poll that showed Perry with a 48 percent to 40 percent lead over White. The new poll numbers are more favorable for Perry than a Public Policy Polling survey last month that showed White and Perry tied with 43 percent each.
Political observers cautioned Texans from reading too much into the latest campaign finance news.
That's especially true because Perry and White aren't even close to finished adding to their war chests, said Brian Roberts, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
"The notion that the candidate with the most money always wins, that's not always the case," Roberts said. "More often than not, yeah. But it's not a guarantee.
"Just ask Tony Sanchez," Roberts said, referring to the millionaire Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2002 who lost to Perry.
White's camp said grassroots support for their candidate is strong: More than 75 percent of their individual contributors gave $100 or less, and more than 11,700 new contributors donated money since February.
Perry's staff said the governor drew donations from 14,837 donors this election cycle, an increase from the numbers in his previous gubernatorial races.
Considering the cash flush Republican Governors Association has not yet played in this race but the less well funded Democratic Governors Association's contributions to Bill White comprise roughly half of his "money lead" over Rick, I think Rick has to be feeling very very very good in the money situation.