How the gubernatorial candidates add up9/25/2006
By: Veronica Castelo
While candidates usually want more than pennies for their campaign, all money adds up. The four major gubernatorial candidates raised $43 million.
A new report by the nonprofit Texans for Public Justice shows the four major gubernatorial candidates have reported raising nearly $43 million.
The report shows 54 people gave $100,000 or more to their candidate of choice. The watchdog group says that gives too few people too much power; they’re pushing for legislations that would put caps on political donations.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry, the biggest fundraiser of the Texas gubernatorial candidates, has gotten most of his contributions from people in the energy and natural resources field.
"When you look at where the money is coming from it tells you about their agenda and who they will represent. Governor Rick Perry is really getting all the big business money," TPJ director Craig McDonald said.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn collected most of her campaign cash from lawyers and lobbyists, followed closely by the finance industry. Even though she’s running as an independent, her donations come from the coffers the Democrats used to count on.
The four major gubernatorial candidates raised a collective $43 million.
"It's interesting because some of the democratic bankrollers are the ones fueling Mrs. Strayhorn’s campaign," McDonald said.
Falling way behind Perry and Strayhorn are independent candidate Kinky Friedman and Democrat Chris Bell. Bell's largest concentration of donations came from lawyers and lobbyists.
Friedman's biggest concentration came from miscellaneous businesses. He has a lot of small donors, and one in four of them come from out of state.
"We have six times as many donors as Perry does but he has 15 times as much money, all coming from the same small crowd. They give us money because they want change. They give Perry money because they want a return on their dollar," Friedman said.
Friedman's biggest identifiable donor professions were lawyers and lobbyists. Analysts wonder if his donors will turn up at the polls.
"Many of his donors, just by looking at those who come out of state, are those who haven't participated in political system. I'm not so sure he can get them to the polls," McDonald said.
UT Government Professor Glen Smith agrees. He said Friedman will have to increase his cash flow or bank on his alternative campaign methods – online donations or grassroots volunteers.
Right now, Smith still believes money is power. But he's not ready to bet on Perry just yet.
“This is such a different election. What it's going to come down to for Rick Perry and Chris Bell is who can keep the base Republican and Democratic voters from sliding over to Strayhorn and Friedman. And what it's going to mean for them is to peel off some of the base," he said.