Texas: Gov. Rick Perry Takes Massive Money Lead over Bill White
We are now within striking distance of November 2, so much so that Muse's "Uprising" is my ringtone. "Rise up and take the power back/It's time the fat cats had a heart attack ... ."
As we get down to the wire, polls matter, block walks matter, enthusiasm matters -- and money matters. In fact, money tells us a lot about the health of a candidate and where he or she stands in relation to his or her opponent. Money raised and money in the war chest tells us who's going to hit the gas through October, and who's going to be running on fumes when election day draws near.
That in mind, let's turn our eyes to Texas. Much has been made of Democrat Bill White's relatively strong run for governor. The former Houston mayor has never led incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry, but the race hasn't been a blowout. Perry currently has a poll lead somewhere between 6 and 8 points, with the margins of error making that as close as 3 points or as wide as maybe 10. For a conservative Republican running in a conservative Republican bastion in a decidedly Republican year, even that's a little closer than anyone expected. Particularly if we're really at the low end of those margins. For the record, I don't think we are, but now is not a time to take anything for granted.
The money lines tell us a very different story from the polls. Earlier in the year, Bill White had a cash advantage and went on a spending spree and bought millions of dollars in media. To some extent he needed to; the question was whether he was spending his money too early, and was he spending too much of it within Houston where he should be strong. As the former mayor of Houston, he was for all intents and purposes unknown to the vast majority of Texans. He had to convince them that he's not just another big-spending, tax-loving liberal Democrat. He went into that buying season with a deficit in the polls of between 6 and 8 points, and came out of with a poll deficit of ... between 6 and 8 points. Six million dollars didn't move the needle a bit, but they did put White's campaign a little behind Perry's in cash on hand at that point. But where are we now?