O’Rourke outraises Abbott again, but new poll shows incumbent with wide lead

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Since the 2022 race for governor began, Republican Greg Abbott has raised $103 million to Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s $76.5 million.

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Heading into the final week before the Nov. 8 election, Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke outraised Republican Gov. Greg Abbott by more than $1.5 million in the month of October, according to reports released Tuesday.

It’s the third straight reporting period O’Rourke has come out on top in what is now the most expensive campaign for governor in Texas history. But the Democrat’s report of a cash haul of $10.5 million in 30 days is tempered by a new poll showing Abbott with his largest lead yet: 13 percentage points.

Abbott, fighting for a third term, raised just under $9 million during the stretch from Sept. 30 through Oct. 29 and more than $103 million since launching his reelection effort and had $3 million left to spend as of midnight Tuesday. O’Rourke’s latest report brings his total collections to around $76.5 million. The Democrat’s campaign, which launched later than Abbott’s, has $4.3 million left to spend.

The poll released Tuesday by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston shows a marked difference from several recent polls, with nearly all of the polls conducted over the summer and into the early fall.

On Sunday, a poll by the University of Texas at Tyler showed Abbott leading by 6 percentage points among likely voters, and by 3 points among registered voters. That tracks with a Marist Poll released in mid-October showing the margin at 4 percentage points. In between, a poll by the University of Texas Politics Project had Abbott up by 11 points.

Both camps sought to frame their latest fundraising efforts in the most favorable light with early voting set to end Friday and time running out before the polls close at 7 p.m. Nov. 8.

More:NRA, anti-Abbott groups spend big in the Texas governor race

“We’re receiving support from those in every part of this state who are ready to turn the page on Greg Abbott’s failures and vote for change after eight years of this governor putting his extreme agenda over the people of Texas,” O’Rourke said in a campaign news release. 

Gardner Pate, Abbott’s campaign chairman, said the totals show the governor has the resources to carry his fight to the finish.

“Citizens in every corner of Texas have donated to Governor Abbott’s campaign, and with early voting well under way, we’re glad to see they are coming out to vote for Governor Abbott,” Pate said in a news release.

The Hobby School’s poll, conducted Oct. 19-26, with 1,200 likely Texas voters completing an online survey in either English or Spanish, showed the issues pushed most heavily by Abbott are top of mind to a plurality of voters. Nearly 1 in 3 voters said inflation was their chief concern and 19% said it was the twin issues of border security and immigration.

Abortion ranked third with 10% saying it was the biggest issue. O’Rourke has made reproductive freedom a central tenet of his campaign in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in June striking down Roe v. Wade. Gun safety, the Democrat’s other top issue, was not among the important issues raised by the poll’s respondents.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, also showed the statewide down-ballot Republicans with comfortable leads.

More:O’Rourke slightly outraised Abbott over summer, but the incumbent has wide overall lead

The latest fundraising reports show Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick raised nearly $3.3 million in the Sept. 30-Oct. 29 reporting period, far exceeding the nearly $2.3 million from July to September. Democratic challenger Mike Collier raised just over $712,000 in the last reporting period.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton outraised Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza by more than $1 million. Paxton raised $2.4 million in this reporting period, while Garza raised $1.1 million.

Staff writer Nusaiba Mizan contributed to this report.

John C. Moritz covers Texas government and politics for the USA Today Network in Austin. Contact him at jmoritz@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @JohnnieMo.

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