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The numbers to watch: Greg Abbott vs. Beto O'Rourke will be 'battle of bank accounts'

"This is definitely a heavyweight battle, it’s Ali vs. Frazier. It’s going to be pretty seriously contested from both parties," said UH's Brandon Rottinghaus.
Credit: KHOU 11
Gov. Greg Abbott could face a tough race if Democrat Beto O'Rourke challenges him in 2022.

HOUSTON — It’s officially campaign season in Texas. Democrat Beto O’Rourke ended his first week campaigning against Governor Greg Abbott with a rally in Houston.

The numbers driving the campaign this week are in fundraising. O'Rourke's  camp broke a record for a democratic gubernatorial candidate, saying he raised $2 million dollars in the first 24 hours.

However, Gov. Abbott’s war chest is more than $60 million.

“It’s going to be the battle of bank accounts," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at University of Houston.

Another thing he’s watching is the number of new voters.

Two million since O'Rourke's last run for the U.S.Senate in 2018, when he ran a competitive campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz.

“It’s hard to know. This is definitely a heavyweight battle, it’s Ali vs. Frazier. It’s going to be pretty seriously contested from both parties but obviously this is a different race than O’Rourke and Cruz was,” said Rottinghaus.

O'Rourke's senate run in 2018 was fueled by the first mid-term after President Trump was elected. This time, he’s on the ballot in the first mid-term since President Biden took office.

Gov. Abbott’s camp is already trying to use that to their advantage, saying this week, “Beto O’Rourke has demonstrated he has more in common with President Biden than he does with Texas.”

“This is not just a race between Beto O’Rourke and Greg Abbott, this is a race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump," Rottinghaus said. And that puts Texas race for Governor front and center on the national stage.