Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' attacks against her expected Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, for appearing with controversial rocker Ted Nugent last week appear to have boosted her fundraising efforts.
The latest campaign finance reports, which cover Jan. 24 to Feb. 22, show a spike in contributions for Davis during the almost week-long fire Abbott came under after appearing with Nugent at two campaign events in North Texas last week.
Davis reported raising $684,792 in the fundraising period's last six days, which covered the time frame following Abbott's announcement on Feb. 17 that he would appear with Nugent the next day. That is more than the $505,016 she raised in the first 24 days of the fundraising period.
(These figures do not include $432,027 in unitemized contributions — donations of less than $50 — which are not included in the detailed campaign finance reports.)
Half of the haul for those six days came from $225,500 in large donations, including $100,000 from EMILY’s List and $50,000 from League City attorney Ronald Krist, in addition to a six-figure in-kind contribution from Battleground Texas for staff work and “outreach program costs.”
But finance reports show that the other half was made up by much smaller donations, including several contributions received by the campaign on the day Davis sent out a fundraising email specifically targeting Abbott’s appearances with Nugent.
In the email, which was sent out under the subject line "Outrageous," Davis called Nugent "disgusting" and asked for help to “fight back.”
Nugent is known for his inflammatory statements about political leaders, but Davis’ remarks have been focused on Nugent’s previous acknowledgement of having sex with underage girls.
The Nugent controversy did not seem to affect Abbott’s fundraising efforts. He raised $2.45 million in the latest reporting period and has a large cash-on-hand advantage over Davis, $30 million to $11.3 million.
Following the news frenzy over Nugent early last week, Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said that Abbott does not “endorse or agree with” everything Nugent says and instead focused on Nugent's support of the Second Amendment.
“He is a forceful advocate for individual liberty and constitutional rights — especially the Second Amendment rights cherished by Texans,” Hirsch said.
Later that week, Abbott indicated he wants to move on from the controversy given that Nugent apologized for calling President Obama a “sub-human mongrel.”
But Davis continued to hound Abbott about the Nugent appearance until the last day of the latest reporting period, Saturday, when she appeared at the Texas Democratic Women Convention in Austin, calling into question Abbott's character and judgment "when he stands on a stage next to someone like that and refers to him as his ‘blood brother.’”
Davis' combined $2.85 million fundraising total also includes money that goes into the Victory Fund Committee, a joint fundraising operation with the Democratic group Battleground Texas, and her old Senate fundraising account.
Donations to Davis through the Victory Fund Committee did not show an increase in contributions in the same time period. Contributions to her Senate account totaled $2,000, and none were recorded after Abbott appeared with Nugent.