AUSTIN, Texas — Campaign season is ramping up, and this week we're getting a look at how much money candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs) are raising.
While money isn't the only factor in a successful campaign, it's something every candidate needs and, in terms of the Democratic presidential candidate debates, is used to determine who qualifies.
Both of the well-known candidates from Texas should qualify for the next debate. Former U.S. Secretary of Housing Julian Castro raised $2.8 million in the second quarter. Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke's campaign reported he raised $3.6 million from April 1 to June 30.
But there is a large gap between what Castro and O'Rourke brought in compared to the top fundraisers this quarter.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised more than any other Democrat, bringing in $24.9 million in the second quarter. Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign reports he raised $21.5 million this quarter. It's also worth noting Biden announced his campaign at the end of April, when the quarter had already started.
But all Democrats trail behind President Donald Trump, who, according to ABC News partner FiveThirtyEight, raised $26.5 million in the second quarter.
Statewide, Texas Governor Greg Abbott added to his war chest, raising $12.1 million from June 17 to June 30.
On a local level, the City of Austin's campaign finance reports reveal who's funding PACs that want to sway policy.
The PAC "Fair Play Austin" – which opposes the construction of McKalla Stadium, where Austin's first Major League Soccer team will play – was mostly funded by Bobby Epstein, who heads the Circuit of the Americas and owns the soccer team that plays at COTA, Austin Bold FC.
The PAC behind a petition calling for a vote on any future convention center expansion, Unconventional Austin, is largely funded by two members of the Austin Tourism Commission, Brian Rodgers and Bill Bunch. Bunch is also the executive director of the Save Our Springs Alliance.
After the group filed the petition, Mayor Steve Adler released a statement putting out a call to find out who was behind it. He said the PAC's efforts mislead the public and oppose public priorities.
A statement from the PAC states there is no outside "dark money." The city clerk is still validating the names on the petition to determine what happens next.
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