“Just a little bit more.”
John D. Rockefeller’s response to the question, “How much money is enough?”
How much money is enough?
In the last several weeks, Transparency Texas has been taking a look at the money in Texas statewide elections. The most remarkable feature of these races is the staggering financial advantage enjoyed by most of the incumbents.
With the exception of the race for Agriculture Commissioner, where Sid Miller is in a virtual financial tie with his challenger, most statewide office holders enjoy an overwhelming cash advantage. Governor Greg Abbott has $29 million dollars in his campaign account, or 134 times more than his challenger, Lupe Valdez. Even more astounding, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has amassed 227 times more than his opponent. Likewise, Comptroller Glenn Hegar has a 697 to 1 advantage. And get this – Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick has stockpiled 810 times more cash than her challenger.
None of this is illegal or even necessarily inappropriate. Citizens certainly have the right “to speak” with their dollars by donating to the candidates they prefer, and candidates have the right to collect this money. In fact, the money spent to select candidates and influence government pales in comparison to the money spent by the same government.
Transparency Texas, however, exists to help you, the citizen, keep an eye on the money and see it in context. Now you can see exactly where the money is coming from and where it’s going, so you can know who is really on your side.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers:
|Statewide Races – By The Numbers – Cash on Hand (COH)|
|Office||Incumbent||Challenger||COH Incumbent||COH Challenger||COH Advantage|
How did it get this way?
What can a candidate do with all that money?
How will these candidates handle such huge leads as we head into the November election? Will they spend it wisely, hold on to it all, or even consider sharing it with down-ballot Republicans who are at serious risk of losing their seats?
You can count on Transparency Texas to keep an eye on them and let you know.
Our Race to Raise series takes a deeper look at the most high-profile races of the election cycle, focusing specifically on money raised by those seeking to serve in public office. Stay tuned for the next installment.