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How much Greg Abbott, Beto O’Rourke have spent on TV ads in race for Texas governor

The Republican incumbent has so far spent millions more than his Democratic challenger.

Voting stickers
Voting stickers are seen at a political event for Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Fredericksburg, Texas.(Eric Gay / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Gromer Jeffers Jr. and Jamie Hancock

Gov. Greg Abbott is heavily outspending rival Beto O’Rourke in the television ad war for Texas governor, showcasing the impact the Republican incumbent’s stout campaign fund is having on what could be a close race.

The governor’s TV campaign for the general election kicked off in August, when kids returned to school and more people started tuning in. He spent $4.3 million to splash two ads across much of Texas, according to AdImpact, a company that tracks spending.

O’Rourke didn’t make a significant broadcast and cable buy in August, spending about $40,000 for limited airings in six markets, AdImpact reported. Instead, the campaign waited until Tuesday to spread $6 million across the weeks leading up to Nov. 8.

Abbott’s early advantage on television highlights the disparate strategies of the campaigns. O’Rourke, who reported $24 million in cash this summer, is trying to make sure his resources are used during the race’s prime-time weeks, when people are paying closer attention to the drama that will unfold. The Democrat is also relying on his massive volunteer organization to speak to voters in their communities.

Abbott reported $46 million on hand and has the overall edge in TV, radio and digital ad spending for the general election: 7.6 million compared with O’Rourke’s $3.2 million through Sept. 8, according to AdImpact.

AdImpact shows O’Rourke allocating more money than Abbott for ads between now and Nov. 8: an additional $10.4 million to Abbott’s $4.9 million. Abbott still has the lead in total predicted spending, with $18.1 million to O’Rourke’s $16.9 million.

But expect the dollar amounts to soar and the television ad fight to intensify as the calendar moves closer to Election Day.

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