AUSTIN (KXAN) — Vice President Mike Pence along with several Republican governors from across the country will be in Austin Wednesday for the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference at the JW Marriott. Right now there are 34 Republican governors, the most in U.S. history according to the Republican Governor’s Association.
Political analysts say with Republican seats in the Senate and Congress in question — the lower-level office of governor is a place Republicans feel they can hold.
“The governors are an interesting focal point for Republicans in the country because they are important political leaders, but they are separate from Washington, and it’s no accident this meeting is not happening in Washington, but instead in the capitol of a Republican state whose governor is up for reelection next year,” says Jim Henson, Director of the Texas Politics Project, University of Texas.
On Tuesday Pence was fundraising for Governor Greg Abbott in Washington D.C. Right now Abbott’s war chest sits at more than $41 million — although it has likely grown since that figure was last reported in the summer. The next filing date is early next year.
The New York Times reports Abbott has the largest war chest in the country. He’s had 75,000 contributions of $200 or less. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Democrats’ top fundraising governor, has $25 million — almost none from small donors. Last year, he went nearly six months without a contribution of $200 or less.
“I don’t think anyone is under the impression that Greg Abbott needs an enormous amount of fundraising help,” says Henson. “He has a significant war chest and campaign funds stored up ready to go with no real opponent either in the primary or the general election in the works. Nonetheless, it’s always good to discourage any type of challengers — nobody likes a tough election run either in the primary or in the general election.”
The Republican Governors Association Annual Conference runs through Thursday.