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The Brief: July 16, 2013

New fundraising numbers on Monday set off the latest round of 2014 political jockeying in Texas.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, at a "Stand With Texas Women" rally at the state Capitol.

The Big Conversation

New fundraising numbers on Monday set off the latest round of 2014 political jockeying in Texas.

Though lawmakers are still in Austin trying to reach an agreement on transportation funding, Monday's filing deadline for state candidates and political action committees shifted attention squarely to 2014.

As the Tribune's Jay Root reported on Monday, state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who shot to stardom after her filibuster of an abortion bill last month, reported raising nearly $1 million in the last two weeks of June. Davis, who is considering a run for governor, received 15,290 individual donations, $580,000 of which came from Texas.

Battleground Texas, a group run by former Obama campaign organizers hoping to turn Texas Democratic, also reported raising more than $1 million since February. 

Though substantial, especially in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, Davis' and Battleground Texas' hauls paled next to that of Attorney General Greg Abbott, the front-runner to succeed Gov. Rick Perry. Abbott, who announced his candidacy on Sunday, raised $4.78 million in the final two weeks of June, his campaign announced last week.

"The big problem state Democrats have faced is even when people get excited they don't reach for their wallets," Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, told the San Antonio Express-News. "As she looks at the possibility of making a run for governor, I think Wendy Davis will draw back because I don't think she sees the possibility of raising $30 million or $40 million."

Down the ballot, in the crowded race for lieutenant governor, the incumbent, David Dewhurst, reported raising more than $1.2 million, bringing his cash on hand to $1.73 million. Agriculture Commissioner Toss Staples also raised about $1 million but reported a hefty $3 million on hand. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson reported about $417,000 raised and $1.3 million on hand, while state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, raised $100,000 in the final three days of June but reported more than $2 million on hand. 

In the race for attorney general, state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who hasn't officially entered the race, reported $4 million on hand; Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, who has entered the race, reported more than $1 million on hand.

George P. Bush, who has yet to attract a formidable opponent in the race for land commissioner, reported $2 million raised and $2.6 million on hand.

Culled

•    Zetas Leader Captured in Nuevo León (The Texas Tribune): "The man who allegedly headed one of Mexico’s most brutal cartels has reportedly been captured by Mexican authorities. … Miguel Treviño Morales, known by his call sign of '40,' was captured by Mexican marines early Monday. … The capture represents a milestone in the young presidency of Mexican leader Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office in December and vowed to stray from the tactics of his predecessor, President Felipe Calderón."

•    In McAllen, Abbott woos Valley, Hispanic vote (The Monitor): "Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott called for unity between Republican candidates and Hispanics in McAllen on Monday, with the promise of being in South Texas much more. As evidence voters should elect him governor in 2014, Abbott cited the 27 lawsuits he’s brought against the federal government as Texas attorney general, and he spoke of fighting against human trafficking in the Rio Grande Valley."

•    Abbott uneasy about job funds favored by Perry (The Associated Press): "Republican gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott signaled his unease Monday with one of longtime Gov. Rick Perry’s signature legacies — awarding businesses millions of taxpayer dollars in the name of job creation. It was the first sign that the state attorney general’s vision for Texas is not a carbon copy of his longtime GOP ally’s. In an interview with The Associated Press, Abbott also said that Texas still needs a prosecutorial arm to investigate state corruption."

•    Hundreds turn out to protest abortion restrictions (AP): "About 300 abortion rights activists braved a downpour so they could gather in front of the Texas Capitol late Monday and protest sweeping new restrictions on abortion that state lawmakers approved last week. The event, which also featured a march through downtown Austin, paled in comparison to similar demonstrations that drew thousands to the Legislature previously, an outpouring of activism not seen in Texas in at least a generation.'"

Quote to Note: "If one performance or a series of performances pretty much blackballs you, then it does. But I don’t think that’s what this country’s all about." — Gov. Rick Perry to The Washington Post's Dan Balz on whether his gaffe-plagued 2012 presidential run would affect his chances in 2016

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