Texas Democrats, who have boldly proclaimed 2018 as a year of major opportunity for the party have major trouble at the top of their ticket.
Despite having a clown car of nine candidates in the race for governor, each more laughable than the next, none are anywhere close to being financially viable to compete with Gov. Greg Abbott in the November election. All of the “marquee” candidates courted by Democrats last year ended up choosing to keep their seats rather than risk them in a gamble for higher office.
So far, the Democrat ballot is looking a lot like a menu at an Applebee’s—sure there are a lot of choices, but none of them are remotely appetizing.
First up is Dallas gay-bar owner Jeffrey Payne, who reported raising $10,031 dollars during the second half of 2017. Payne jumped into the race in July of last year, and the candidate’s presence and early dominance of the then-empty field caused panic for Democrats who weren’t thrilled with the idea of of having “International Mr. Leather” at the top of their ticket.
Payne promised Texas Democrats that he’d be bankrolling his own campaign to the tune of $2.5 million, but that pledge has yet to materialize.
Next is former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, best known for her implementation of sanctuary city policies. She reported raising a paltry $46,498 during the last reporting period which ended on December 31st. Valdez was pushed into the race at the eleventh hour at the behest of Texas Democrats, who were desperate for “star power” at the top of the ticket, and fearing the nomination of the other choices.
Valdez has quickly proven she lacks the appeal needed for Democrats to succeed in November. Her $46,000 “haul” would be a disappointing number for a state house race, let alone the highest office in the state. Indeed, Abbott’s current war chest would allow him to outspend her almost 1,000:1.
Valdez was significantly outraised by her biggest opponent in the race, Andrew White. The son of former Democrat Gov. Mark White reported raising $175,407.00, almost four times the amount that Valdez brought in. However, Democrats have been hesitant to embrace White, due to his stance in favor of pro-life policies.
None of these candidates’ fundraising reports should be inspiring for Texas Democrats. Last week, Abbott announced he had raised over $9 million during the same period, amassing a record campaign war chest of $43.3 million.
During the same period in 2014, former Democratic candidate for Governor Wendy Davis announced she had almost $3 million in her campaign account. Despite spending $36 million in her campaign against Abbott, she lost by 21 points to the embarrassment of Democrats nationwide.
The failure by Texas Democrats to rally around an inspiring candidate will likely have a negative effect on their performance down ballot. And with a pool of gubernatorial candidates that can only be described as a lackluster at best, Republicans should be encouraged about their odds heading into November.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens


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