Finance reports reveal candidate viability


In the second largest state, with the second biggest population, money makes the politician.

   The latest filing period for campaign finance reports ended New Year's Eve. Over the next 10 days, candidates will reveal how much they've spent so far, and more importantly, how much more they still have in the bank. Count on those with big numbers to release their totals earlier than those who don't.

   Fair or not, those numbers will also determine whose candidacy is taken seriously, and whose longshot campaign will go down as a footnote. That's because getting on the ballot is easy. Waging a campaign is hard.

   Texas has 20 media markets and barnstorming the state making personal appearances will not deliver the votes, TV, radio and direct mail are all necessary and expensive.

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