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Texas Take

Jul 20, 2018


Money, and lots of it, is flowing into several top-ballot races in Texas, even as some top statewide candidates are having trouble raising much of anything.

Consider that incumbent Republican Greg Abbott has $29 million in the bank, while his Democratic challenger, Lupe Valdez, has just $220,000. The same finance chasm exists between well-funded Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and his challenger, Democrat Mike Collier.

But not all those underdogs are Democrats. U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for reelection, has raised more than $10 million, and Democrats insurgents challenging GOP incumbents in congressional races are doing well in fundraising.

Democrats are insisting the down-ballot races that are doing well are part of their quiet strategy to win big in November, something they call "reverse coattails," where local races are used to a big election drive turn out that will benefit the top-of-the-ticket candidates like Valdez and Collier.

Republicans are having a good laugh over the strategy. But the Democrats say it will be they who will have the last laugh on Election Day, when their promised "blue tide" turns out a bunch of GOP incumbents.

In a colorful week when the apparent bromance between President Trump and Vladimir Putin has set almost everyone in Washington on edge, and when the Texas gubernatorial candidates are squabbling over when to debate, politics appears not to be taking any summer vacation.

Go behind the headlines for a look at what's really going on at the Texas Capitol and in Washington. Join the conversation featuring the Chronicle's Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward and Scott Braddock, editor of The Quorum Report, an acclaimed Texas political newsletter, with special guest Ryan PoppeTexas Public Radio's Capitol reporter.

Our sponsors this week: Texas Association of Counties and Lone Star Targeting.

Texas politics are entertaining but never boring, as this edition of the state's leading politics podcast, produced in collaboration with partner Texas Public Radio, shows. Listen in.