The latest finance reports released by the Texas Ethics Commission show that at least 14 state officials have more than $1 million in their bank accounts — including some who aren't up for re-election or face only nominal competition this fall.
As you'd expect, the gubernatorial candidates — Republican incumbent Rick Perry and Democratic challenger Bill White — are at the top of the list, but so too are officials who really don't have to worry about re-election this cycle.
Republican Comptroller Susan Combs, for example, has more than $4 million to spend and only a poorly funded Libertarian facing off with her on the ballot. State Sens. Rodney Ellis and John Whitmire, both Houston Democrats, also face competitors with little cash to wage a strong contest. They are among only four Democrats topping the list, along with White and state Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin (who also isn't sweating his cash advantage against his Republican challenger's remaining war chest: $14,681).
Of course, it's common (and smart) practice in politics to store away cash for future races when it'll be needed. See Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, for example, who has more money than anyone in the state — roughly 20 times the amount his oppenent, Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky, has to spend (about $500,000). He's been waiting years for the chance to seek higher office, or so says the conventional wisdom, and someday he might need truly to tap the campaign money he's amassed.
Here's the full list:
|Candidate/Official||Office Sought||Party||Cash Remaining|
|Greg Abbott||Attorney General||Republican||$11,209,704|
|John Whitmire||Texas Senate||Democratic||$3,611,036|
|David Dewhurst||Lt Governor||Republican||$3,550,830|
|Kirk Watson||Texas Senate||Democratic||$1,609,741|
|Tom Craddick||Texas House||Republican||$1,549,223|
|Joe Straus||Texas House||Republican||$1,528,022|
|Rodney Ellis||Texas Senate||Democratic||$1,414,715|
|Kip Averitt||Texas Senate||Republican||$1,196,647|
|Dan Branch||Texas House||Republican||$1,183,300|
|Kevin Eltife||Texas Senate||Republican||$1,046,089|
Source: Texas Ethics Commission
The commission isn't expected to released its typical list of how much each candidate raised, spent, borrowed and squirreled away during the July 15 fundraising cycle for a few days. So we scraped the data from the commission's website early and compiled the records into an interactive table listing more than 250 major-party candidates' totals. We'll publish it tomorrow.