AUSTIN, Texas — We're heading into the homestretch of the 2018 campaign season and Gov. Greg Abbott has a huge cash advantage over his Democratic challenger, Lupe Valdez.
The latest round of campaign finance reports was due to the Texas Ethics Commission by midnight Tuesday. Abbott has a nearly 90-to-1 cash advantage over Valdez. It's just another example of her uphill battle in her bid to unseat the well-funded incumbent.
At a time when campaigns rely heavily on advertising, money correlates directly to name recognition.
"Texas is a very expensive place to run, it's a big state, lot of media markets," Jim Henson with the Texas Politics Project through UT Austin said.
Valdez is struggling to pull in donations. Since the Democrat and former Dallas County sheriff launched her campaign against Abbott in December, she's raised only $1.4 million. This reporting period, she broke just $600,000, while, in the same amount of time, Abbott managed to raise nearly $6 million.
Henson says her grassroots campaign against Abbott isn't working.
"Her race has always been uphill," Henson said. "It gets steeper and steeper as we look at these fundraising numbers. She was always up against one of the most successful fundraisers in the history of Texas politics in Greg Abbott. She's not gaining any ground."
But looking further down ballot, some Democrats are outpacing their Republican opponents this period. In the race for attorney general, Democrat Justin Nelson raised $1.1 million between July and September. Republican incumbent Ken Paxton raised only $488,000.
"That race is one of the puzzles this cycle in that we know that Attorney General Paxton has legal troubles," Henson said.
Paxton is under indictment for a series of white collar crimes. He says he's innocent, but it's a weak spot that Nelson is taking advantage of. Still, Paxton has nearly $4.5 million in the bank.
"He knows he goes in with an advantage as a Republican running statewide," Henson said.
It's an advantage Republican Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is also banking on. He was also out-raised by his Democratic challenger, Kim Olson.
While some Democratic statewide candidates can tout more money this time around, it's still a difficult fight to land a victory. As we often report, Democrats haven't won a statewide race since 1994.