The following is from the July 28, 2008, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

Presidential candidates fill coffers with Texans' dollars


Texas is very important to presidential hopeful John McCain.

First the Arizona senator tapped into some already-established support teams for President Bush. Then the 71-year-old clinched the GOP presidential nomination on Texas’ primary election day.

Now, his campaign coffers are filling up with Texas dollars.

In June, Texas was McCain’s top donor state, giving $1.17 million to the Republican’s presidential bid, new campaign finance records show. . .

Despite Texas being a traditionally red state, Democrat Barack Obama is not faring badly in campaign donations here.

Obama has picked up $6.8 million from Texans during the campaign, not far from McCain’s $7.4 million. Former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton remains the money leader in Texas with $7.5 million in donations before she ended her campaign last month, according to a new analysis of campaign finance records by the Center for Responsive Politics. . .

"Texas is the largest red state," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "If you have both California and New York, which are blue states, giving more money than Texas, Texas has to step up, as do others.

"I think Texans are somewhat underinvested in this campaign because there’s not a Texan on the ballot, or, for Republicans, a Republican they are not very excited about," he said. "Texans have been ambivalent through the campaign.  . . . Republicans will have to work hard to match the enthusiasm on the Democrats’ side."

As far as donations to Obama, Texas has given the sixth-largest amount, behind California ($30.7 million), New York ($19.8 million), his home state of Illinois ($15.8 million), Massachusetts ($7.6 million) and Florida ($7 million).

Jillson said Obama could help fellow Democrats on the ballot this fall in Texas and elsewhere.

"Right now, the struggle is to get him to come back to Texas for more than fundraising — to commit to campaign here," Jillson said. "He can help down-ballot Democrats."

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