The gubernatorial fundraising numbers from Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott came out last night. Davis raised $12.2 million across three committees, whereas Abbott raised $11.5 million across one committee, Texans for Greg Abbott.
Here are the numbers from Davis:
* Wendy R. Davis for Governor, Inc.: $4,172,778
* Wendy R. Davis Candidate/Officeholder: $4,555,228
* Texas Victory Committee, Inc.: $3,501,513
Why does Wendy Davis have three committees, and what does that Texas Victory Committee do?
First off, the first committee, “Wendy R. Davis for Governor, Inc.” is the fundraising account she opened specifically for her gubernatorial run, after she announced. It is an SPAC, or “Specific Purpose PAC.” It exists only to support her run for governor.
However, before Wendy Davis announced for Governor on October 3rd, she hadn't yet set up a “Wendy for Governor” account. She was, however, raising into her State Senate account, which she already had on file as an officeholder. That's what the “Wendy R. Davis Candidate/Officeholder” account was. Everyone who donated to Wendy after the special session ended but before she announced her run donated there. She can transfer all of these funds to her gubernatorial campaign should she so choose.
Finally, what's the Texas Victory Committee? Find out below the jump and check out some top tweets about Wendy's fundraising win over Abbott. The Texas Victory Committee is a joint fundraising committee for Wendy Davis and Battleground Texas, designed to make sure that there is enough money raised to specifically enable Battleground to turn out the voters Wendy needs to win.
Joint fundraising committees are nothing new to politics. (The FEC rules provide a good overview of how they function.) For instance, Ted Cruz has a “Victory Committee” that raises for Cruz's Senate account and the Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund.
To call the Texas Victory Committee a “split” between Wendy Davis and Battleground Texas suggests that she won't be the recipient of all of the money. That doesn't accurately convey how the money is to be used — it will be used by Battleground to elect Wendy Davis. She will be on the receiving end of the electioneering paid for with that fund.
Why have a Texas Victory Committee? In part, because large donors want to give to both efforts and don't want to have to seemingly “choose” one over the other. Additionally, a donor who can only afford, say, a $1000 contribution to the entire cause may want to buy one $1000 ticket to an exclusive, high-dollar event and get all of the VIP treatment that comes with it, rather than two $500 tickets to two separate events.
It's also in Wendy Davis's best interests to make sure that Battleground Texas has the funds it needs to continue the immense voter registration and base mobilization effort that is already going on here in Texas. For better or worse, the candidate is the “sexier” fundraising draw, but she still has to make sure the entire infrastructure is funded. Many of Davis's fundraising events list the Victory Fund as the recipient of donations.
So that's how it works. Now, here are some top reaction tweets to Wendy's reports, including genuine shock and amazement from a Politico reporter. Not bad, Wendy. Not bad at all.
— Ed Espinoza (@EdEspinoza) January 15, 2014
holy cow RT @AP_Ken_Thomas AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Democrat Wendy Davis reports raising $12 million for her bid to become Texas governor.
— Alex Burns (@aburnspolitico) January 14, 2014
Amused by the spin on Wendy Davis' fundraising numbers by GOP operatives who understand exactly what a joint fundraising committee is.
— Michael Li (@mcpli) January 15, 2014
— Mary Gonzalez (@RepMaryGonzalez) January 15, 2014