Money, Spin and the Texas Governor's Race: Wendy Davis Still Unlikely to Win
Photo byKevin_Sutherland Texas is Not Going Blue in 2014
Last week, Greg Abbott sent out an email to his supporters claiming that "Sen. Wendy Davis has raised $8.7 million from liberals in New York, California and Washington." Try as I might, I could not verify this claim. Indeed, the venerable conservative magazine National Review did not bother to fact check this claim, instead just repeating Abbott's claim. Even a Rice political scientist did no more than perform a "he said/she said" recounting of Abbott's claims.
Wendy Davis did indeed raise $8.7 million in contributions during the last reporting period, but there is no evidence, as implied by Abbott, that all the money came from the liberal trifecta: California, New York (coastal elites) and the always-hated Washington. It is implausible, as Abbott wants you to believe, that all that money came from outside Texas.
But Davis is (sort of) playing money games of her own. In claiming that she raised $12 million to Abbott's $11.5 million, she counted the money that went to a separate PAC, Texas Victory Committee. Abbott's campaign called her out on this. But the PAC is largely a PAC that is going to funnel money to Davis. So, truthiness abounds on both sides. As with any campaign, the partisans (attempt to) construct a reality rather than living in it.
And as with any politician, Davis is trying to buoy Democrats into thinking that they might actually have a chance to take their first state-wide office since 1994. It's difficult to take this too seriously, however.
First, there just are not enough White Democratic voters in Texas. In 2010, most White Texas voters (51 percent), not Republicans, but voters overall, were conservative. There are not enough Hispanic and Black voters to make up for the fact that White more or less equals conservative in Texas still. (And in case you're keeping track, this is exactly why the Republicans in Texas passed voter ID laws making it harder for minorities to vote and easier for Whites to cast their ballot; it's politics all the way down).