Lite Guv candidates packing big bucks heading into homestretch

AUSTIN — The two lieutenant governor candidates are respectively sitting on multimillion-dollar war chests that will provide each the opportunity to splurge big on television ads heading into the final weeks of the election.

Republican Dan Patrick said Monday his campaign had $4.3 million cash on hand as of the last week of September, while Democrat Leticia Van de Putte’s campaign is planning to report a nearly $2.2 million coffer.

Monday is the deadline for campaign finance reports covering the period between July 1 and Sept. 25. Campaigns generally release some figures ahead of the deadline to generate headlines.

Patrick’s camp originally released only a figure for cash on hand but did not say how much was raised or whether his coffer includes any new loans (as of the last reporting period, he had taken out loans totaling $1.5 million and had an outstanding loan balance of more than $2 million).

Patrick campaign spokesman Alejandro Garcia elaborated, saying the state senator from Houston raised about $4.27 million during the period and spent a little more than $800,000.

In a statement, Allen Blakemore, a consultant for the Patrick campaign, said: “Dan Patrick has delivered a conservative message that is resonating with the voters.”

Van de Putte’s camp said it raised more than $2.6 million during the roughly three-month period, bringing its total raised since announcing in November to close to $5 million.

“Momentum continues to build for Senator Van de Putte,” said campaign spokesman Manny Garcia.

So far, only Van de Putte is up on TV with a major buy that started last month. Patrick, who went up first on TV during the four-way GOP primary, has yet to air TV ads in the general election.