Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Andrew White has built a solid fundraising advantage in the crowded Democratic primary for governor, though Republican Gov. Greg Abbott continues to tower over the field financially.
During the first three weeks of January, White loaned himself $1 million and collected an additional $139,000 in donations, his campaign announced Monday morning. On Monday night, his closest competitor in the money race, Lupe Valdez, unveiled a much smaller haul for the same period: $48,504.
White, the son of late Gov. Mark White, and Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, are vying against seven other Democrats to challenge Abbott, who has maintained a massive war chest for his re-election bid. It was sitting at $43.3 million after Abbott took in $1.1 million during the January period, according to his campaign’s filing with the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday.
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Neither Valdez nor White volunteered their cash-on-hand figures. Monday was the deadline for campaigns to disclose all their finances to the ethics commission for Jan. 1-25.
As the day wound down, Valdez wasted little time seeking to provide a contrast with White’s financial picture.
"I came from humble beginnings as one of eight children born to migrant farm workers," Valdez said in a statement. "I then spent my career in service to the people of Texas. I'm not wealthy, but I have a lot to be thankful for — including the grassroots support that's powering my campaign and this movement. I'm not worried about Andrew White's million-dollar campaign loan, because Texan Democrats can't be bought, and we'll prove that on election day."
Still, White’s numbers cemented his status as the top fundraiser in the Democratic primary. He previously raised $200,000 — $40,000 from a loan to himself — over a three-week period in December. Valdez got $46,498 in roughly the same time, though she later said she was not entirely focused on fundraising that month because she was still sheriff.
"Democrats will need a war chest to beat Gov. Abbott in the fall,” White said in a statement Monday morning. “We’ve started building one today. I remain humbled by the generosity of so many around the state who believe, like I do, Texas can do better. Let’s bring sanity back to government and fight for fairness and equality for all.”
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