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Reports: Most statewide officials in strong financial shape

Most of Texas' top state leaders tallied some formidable numbers in their latest campaign finance reports.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Most of Texas' major statewide officials are in strong — if not formidable — financial shape as they gear up for 2018 re-election campaigns, according to a new batch of campaign finance reports. 

Towering over everyone is Gov. Greg Abbott, who is heading into the latter half of his first term with a massive $34.4 million war chest. He raised $9.1 million in the second half of last year, his biggest six-month fundraising haul since he took office. 

Other officials disclosed well-filled coffers Wednesday, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ($13.7 million), Attorney General Ken Paxton ($4.6 million), Comptroller Glenn Hegar ($4.5 million) and Land Commissioner George P. Bush ($3.2 million).

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller continues to be the exception, posting significantly lower numbers among the statewide officials. He raised $241,000 in the last half of 2016 and has $337,000 cash on hand. 

The other official seen as vulnerable in 2018, Paxton, has proved to be a strong fundraiser despite his battle against federal and state charges of securities fraud. He took in $1.9 million in the second half of last year, his biggest six-month tally since he entered office. 

Hegar ramped up his fundraising more than any other official, taking in $1.3 million after raising $261,000 during the previous period. 

The only major statewide official who has not made a decision yet about running for another term is Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick. She nonetheless posted impressive numbers for the second half of 2016, raising $727,000 and entering the new year with $1.9 million in the bank. 

While he's not's a statewide official, one other top Texas Republican, House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, turned in a report with whopping numbers. Straus raked in $4 million in the second half of 2016 and has $10.4 million cash on hand — the most money he has ever raised over a six-month period and the most money he has ever had in the bank.

The big-raising officials were helped by several six-figure donations. Abbott got two $250,000 donations from Houston construction executive James Pitcock Jr. and Fort Worth oil man Robert Patton Jr. Patrick received four $100,000 contributions from Dallas investor Trammell Crow, Plano jewelry seller Tim Horner, Houston car dealer Don McGill and Dallas pipeline tycoon Kelcy Warren. Paxton, meanwhile, collected a $100,000 check from Dan Wilks, the West Texas fracking billionaire.

See more of the Texas Tribune's coverage:

  • In their first-day numbers, the Texas Legislature's two chambers didn’t even agree on the size of the current budget. The House baked in some supplemental expenses that the Senate left that out.
  • Facing sluggish economic forecasts, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced this month that lawmakers will have $104.87 billion in state funds at their disposal in crafting the next two-year budget, a 2.7 percent decrease from the last session two years ago.
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