Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz raised nearly $1.1 million dollars during the third quarter, a sum which is less than half of frontrunner David Dewhurst's mammoth $2.64 million dollar haul.
Cruz ended the period with $2.4 million cash on hand. The third quarter was his best quarter to date, a notable feat, considering it's harder to raise money during the summer months. But given the combination of the pace Dewhurst has set and the national fanfare surrounding Cruz's candidacy, the former state solicitor general's haul is merely adequate.
While it was Cruz's best quarter, it's not that much further ahead of the pace he has set in prior periods: Cruz raised over $1 million during the first quarter, and then $800,000 during the second quarter.
Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor, raised a record-breaking $2.64 million during the third quarter, approximately $2.4 million of which was pulled in over the last 31 days, his campaign announced on Tuesday. He also chipped in an additional $2 million of his own money and reported over $4 million in the bank at the end of the quarter.
Cruz has become something of a national conservative star in 2011. He recently delivered a well-received speech at the Values Voter summit in Washington and has secured the backing of a star-studded lineup of conservatives including Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Mike Lee, R-Utah. He was also recently featured on the cover of National Review.
Cruz's numbers are nothing to scoff at. But the presence of a financial juggernaut in the race changes the landscape. No one expects Cruz to top Dewhurst in the money chase. But Dewhurst's early doubling up of Cruz sends a strong signal about the strength of the lieutenant governor's candidacy.
So long as Cruz has enough money to buy the advertising necessary to get his message out across the state -- an expensive task -- he'll be a major factor. The more important quarterly deadline will be the next one, in January. With a March primary looming, candidates will rev up their television advertising early next year. Whatever the candidates have in the bank at that time will reveal more about what we can expect to see from them in a state with several major media markets.