Skip to main content

Abbott Fundraising Machine Rolls On, Has $28.6M Banked

Also, potential vice presidential candidate Julián Castro makes keynote address on Latino issues in D.C. with Hillary Clinton set to make her choice in the next few days.

Gov. Greg Abbott accepts Site Selection's 2015 Governor's Cup Award on behalf of the State of Texas on March 9th, 2016

Gov. Greg Abbott continues to maintain a massive war chest with more than two years until he is up for re-election. 

His political shop announced Thursday that Abbott has $28.6 million in the bank after raising $8.66 million during the first half of this year. Abbott's team also said he received a donation from all 254 Texas counties and added 6,600 first-time contributors. 

The figures reinforce Abbott's reputation as a prodigious front-runner and a likely formidable incumbent to topple in 2018. A full campaign finance report is due to the Texas Ethics Commission on Friday.

*****

U.S. Housing Secretary and potential vice presidential candidate Julián Castro on Thursday hailed the progress of the Latino community in America while arguing there is "still so much work left to do."

"Today more than ever, the destiny of the United States is intertwined with the destiny of the Latino community," Castro said in a keynote address at a Latino issues summit hosted by U.S. Senate Democrats at the Capitol.

The speech by Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, came with possibly days until presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton picks her running mate. Castro is reportedly under consideration for the job, and another rumored contender, U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, was also scheduled to speak Thursday.

Despite the vice presidential buzz, Castro largely steered clear of politics in his address. The closest reference came while he was talking about the legacy of President Barack Obama, whom Castro said has "done more to expand opportunity for the Latino community than any president in our nation's history."

"Today we have the chance to build on everything that the president has helped accomplish," Castro said.

*****

Despite stubbornly low oil and gas prices, North Texas mineral owners (and their attorneys) are poised for a windfall.  

Chesapeake Energy has agreed to pay roughly $51 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits alleging that the driller was skimping on royalties, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday.

Attorneys will get nearly $20 million of the sum.

Those North Texas lawsuits were part of the flood of challenges Chesapeake has fought across the country that accused the company of shortchanging royalty owners, including cities and other government entities.

 Two Fort Worth law firms representing 13,000 clients — McDonald Law Firm and Circelli, Walter & Young — announced that 91 percent of those folks had agreed to settlements, the Star-Telegram reported.

Separately, the City of Fort Worth was among aggrieved mineral owners who had already settled. Earlier this year, it agreed to drop its suit for $15 million.

The lawsuits targeted longstanding company practices of deducting large percentages of royalties to cover certain production costs. The company has denied in court that its deductions were illegal. 

Though based in Oklahoma City, the Chesapeake has a particularly large footprint in North Texas’ Barnett Shale, and it occupied for several years a 20-story office building in Fort Worth — a prominent fixture of the city's skyline that it sold in 2014. 

For years, Aubrey McClendon led the company. He died in March after the Chevy Tahoe he was driving crashed into a wall, shocking the energy world.

*****

State Reps. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, and Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, are calling for the 85th Legislature to do more to keep teachers accused of sexual misconduct out of Texas public schools.

Noting that there is no statute that bars teachers who resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct from teaching at other schools in the state, Isaac and Dale are asking Gov. Abbott to designate the issue — which they described "passing the trash" in a press release — an emergency item ahead of the next legislative session.

“It’s clear that current state law simply does not go far enough to protect the children of Texas,” Isaac said in a statement.

The Texas Tribune Member Drive Fall 2021 banner

Support public-service journalism that’s always free to read.

Yes, I'll donate today