By John C. Moritz | Austin American-Statesman
Heading into the 2022 campaign season, Gov. Greg Abbott hauled in nearly $19 million over the last nine days of June and boasted an eye-popping $55 million in the bank as he prepares to campaign for a third term.
The governor already has two announced Republican primary challenges, both of whom have said he is insufficiently conservative.
In a statement announcing that he raised $18.7 million from June 21-30, Abbott made no mention of either challenger — former state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas and outgoing Texas GOP Chairman Allen West — but he made clear that he will not cede the party’s right flank in the upcoming primary.
“Our record-breaking fundraising period is a testament to the success of the 87th legislative session and paints a clear picture of what matters most to Texans: freedom, opportunity, and economic prosperity,” Abbott said.
“These values embody the spirit of Texas, and these values are what our campaign fights for every single day,” he added.
Donations came from all 50 states, but more than $17.6 million of the haul came from donors inside Texas, Abbott’s campaign said, adding that the $55 million in cash on hand was “more than any other statewide candidate in Texas history.”
The fundraising announcement came the same day the Legislature launched a 30-day special session that Abbott called to push for passage of several must-haves on the Republican wish list, including an elections bill that would boost penalties for voter fraud and add ID requirements for mail-in ballots, legislation aimed at requiring transgender student athletes to compete according to their gender at birth, and new restrictions on abortion.
State Rep. Chris Turner, a Tarrant County Democrat who leads his party’s caucus in the House, said Abbott’s agenda shows the primary challenge is on the governor’s mind.
“He’s apparently more worried about those (challengers) than I had realized,” Turner told reporters.
So far, no Democrat has announced for governor.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who narrowly lost the U.S. Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz in 2018, has said he is considering making a run.
Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who has not announced a party affiliation, also has said he is mulling a campaign for governor.