Gov. Greg Abbott has a staggering $43.3 million in his campaign coffers as he enters an election year in which nine mostly little-known Democrats are jockeying to unseat him. 

Abbott, a Republican who is running for a second term, amassed the war chest after raising over $9 million in the second half of 2017, his campaign announced Thursday. His campaign said his cash-on-hand amount is a record for Texas statewide candidates. 

“I am honored and grateful for the continued support of so many throughout this great state,” Abbott said in a statement. “2017 was a banner year for Texas as we added more jobs than any other state, reached the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years and ranked as the state with the best economic climate. There is more work to be done, and with the upcoming campaign in full swing, I will continue to promote ideas that will continue to elevate the Lone Star State to new heights.” 

The Democrats who have lined up to challenge Abbott include former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the son of late Gov. Mark White. Both have shrugged off Abbott's massive war chest, insisting they will have the money to compete and downplaying its importance in the race. 

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The gubernatorial candidates have until Tuesday to disclose their campaign finances for the last six months of 2017 to the Texas Ethics Commission. 

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • “Together, we need to build something new — a new Texas," former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez told a crowd of supporters in Dallas, where she formally kicked off her Democratic bid for governor. [Full story]

  • Texas Democrats appear headed toward a less-than-common scenario in their decades-long bid to retake the governor's office: a crowded, potentially competitive primary. [Full story]

  • Before sign-waving supporters, Gov. Greg Abbott formally launched his re-election campaign Friday in San Antonio, days before he brings the Texas Legislature back for a special session. [Full story]

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