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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Texas Early Powerhouse in 2016 Presidential Campaign

Florida and Texas top the list for 2016 presidential race fundraising. Credit: Susan Sterner/Wikimedia Commons.
Florida and Texas top the list for 2016 presidential race fundraising. Credit: Susan Sterner/Wikimedia Commons.
July 21, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas is number four in the nation for states where residents have contributed just over $7 million to 2016's crop of presidential candidates, according to a new report by Maplight, a nonpartisan group that follows money in politics.

California tops the list, contributing close to $13 million, followed by New York with $10.4 million and Florida with $8.5 million. John Courage, state chairman of Common Cause Texas, says he's concerned big dollars will mean big favors for special interests.

"Texas has always been an ATM machine for the political parties," he says. "Anyone who doesn't believe these large amounts of money don't influence the decision-making process of elected officials is just totally naive."

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has a clear lead in campaign money so far, with over $47 million raised. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, came in second, topping $15 million. Ted Cruz, a Republican U.S. Senator who calls Texas home, is tracking third nationally, pulling in close to $14.3 million.

Maplight estimates the total cost of the 2016 race could reach $5 billion. Courage says the analysis only focused on each candidate's principal campaign committees.

"What we're not seeing is the dark money that's been raised by all of the 'super-PACs' that are really going to be the key players in the political process," he says. "It's the super-PACs who are going to be spending the most money."

The figures are based on candidate reports filed with the Federal Election Commission for the first six months of 2015. The deadline for outside groups to file is July 31.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - TX