Lupe Valdez Raises More Money Than Rival Andrew White for First Time, Though Both Are ‘dough-challenged’

AUSTIN -- Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Lupe Valdez has outraised opponent Andrew White for the first time, according to their latest finance reports.As their low-dollar runoff contest sputters to the wire, Valdez and White are buying only digital ads.Underscoring the Texas Democratic Party's plight, its two surviving contenders for the state's top elective office are raising amounts that resemble the spending level in a lively GOP primary for one of the Texas House's 150 seats.Between Feb. 25 and Saturday, Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff and frontrunner, raised nearly $291,000.White, a Houston investor, managed to take in only about $179,000."This is not going to do it," said retired University of the Incarnate Word political scientist Gary A. Keith, who still blogs about politics."It doesn't compare much with the millions that Abbott has," Keith said, referring to Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent. As of Feb. 24, Abbott had $41.02 million in cash.It can cost as much as $5 million a week to advertise on TV heavily enough to reach most voters in the state's many media markets.Next to no adsValdez's and White's reports showed they've spent no money recently on broadcast ads -- and only a pittance to promote themselves on social media. In the latest period, Valdez spent $1,721 for Facebook ads. White spent about $19,500 to advertise on social media.Of his $166,000 in spending, White forked over $68,000 for consultants. They were his biggest single expenditure category.Valdez spent $15,000 to buy a voter file from the state Democratic Party that can be used to try to persuade and turn out the most reliable Democrats.Valdez's fundraising broke into six figures for the first time in four reporting periods since she jumped into the race in December.Party leaders settled on Valdez, who'd helped turned Dallas County blue, after bigger-name Democrats such as former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and his twin brother, San Antonio Congressman Joaquín Castro, passed on running.Labor backs ValdezLabor unions are behind Valdez. The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union gave her $60,000 during the period. The Texas AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America each contributed $2,500.Dallas personal-injury lawyer Domingo Garcia, a former state representative whose wife Elba is a county commissioner, gave Valdez $25,000.Planned Parenthood Votes PAC made an in-kind contribution of staff time and printing to Valdez that was worth $2,783.Though only donations of $50 or more must be reported to the Texas Ethics Commission, Valdez listed contributions as small as $1 -- such as from retail cashier Ryan Barnett of Canyon, Texas, on April 30.Among her individual donors were Cecelia and Garrett Boone of Dallas, $10,000. He amassed a fortune as co-founder of The Container Store. Their daughter, Aimee Cunningham, has strongly criticized White's statements on abortion. He says he personally opposes abortion but would veto legislation to restrict it.Education historian Diane Ravitch of New York, a leading critic of high-stakes testing and private-school vouchers, gave $700 to Valdez.Party's old guard supports WhiteWhite, son of the late Gov. Mark White, received $20,000 from former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Lyndon Olson Jr. of Waco.He received smaller amounts from other Democrats who along with his father were players in state politics in the 1980s -- former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, $500; former congressman and state Sen. Jim Turner of Crockett, $1,000, and former state Sen. Ted Lyon of Mesquite, $1,000.White's campaign fund ended last week with a balance of about $981,000. Earlier, he loaned his campaign just over $1 million.Valdez, who in the winter loaned herself $25,000, had more than $258,000 in cash as of Saturday.The runoff is Tuesday. Early voting ends Friday.  Continue reading...

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