With the campaign for governor heading into the final weeks, Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke are making their final pitches to the voters of Texas. And their campaign styles couldn’t be any more different, with O’Rourke taking a more grassroots approach talking to voters directly in all parts of the state. Meanwhile, Abbott’s expense reports read like something out of Travel and Leisure.
For starters, Abbott’s a big fan of private planes. And he has three high-dollar donors that he has mostly relied on for his expensive travel habit. S. Javaid Anwar, of Midland Energy Inc. made two in-kind contributions to Abbott in June, totaling more than $19,000. Another donor, Bobby Cox donated $60,000 in plane expenses to Greg Abbott’s campaign in 2022. And then there’s Gary Martin of Falcon Bay Energy LLC, with 18 different in-kind donations in April, May, and June of 2022.
Private jets aren’t the only eyebrow-raising campaign expenditure from Abbott. According to the Texas Ethics Commission, Texans For Greg Abbott spent over $22,000 at The Menagerie in 2022. Their website notes that The Menagerie is a “fine jewelry and gift salon” in Austin.
While there is nothing wrong with campaigns utilizing private jets and nice gifts for donors, it seems a little hypocritical for Abbott given that he has tried to paint a picture of O’Rourke as being an out-of-touch liberal. And in fairness, Abbott does make some grassroots appearances in between events at country clubs.
There are stark contrasts to how these two are campaigning. In July, O’Rourke announced a 49-day tour across Texas. Across the state, he held town halls and rallies with voters. O’Rourke spoke to more than 800 in Fredericksburg in August, notable given that the country voted for Trump by nearly fifty points.
Most recently, O’Rourke launched a college campus tour that has taken him to universities, community colleges, and Historically Black colleges. On Sunday, he was at a rally in Austin with the legendary musician, and marijuana enthusiast, Willie Nelson. Later that evening, O’Rourke attended the Harry Styles concert in Austin, where the musician (and sometimes actor) endorsed him for governor.
The deadline to register to vote in Texas is October 11. Early voting begins October 24.
The Texas Signal is a progressive, fact-based media company. Our mission is to build a media ecosystem in Texas to help get the progressive message out and challenge right-wing Republicans. Think of us as a megaphone to finally counterbalance right-wing conservatives who have successfully built their own media empire in the Lone Star State.