Around the South for Jan. 16: TX, TN & FL

Texas: Abbott raising big money. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) raised some $9 million in the last half of 2017, bringing his cash-on-hand to what the Dallas Morning News calls “a staggering $43.3 million.” With additional fundraising expected this year, Abbott is likely to exceed the $48 million he spent in his campaign against Wendy Davis (D) in 2014 …….Tennessee: Blackburn ahead of Fincher in money chase. US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), a candidate for the GOP US Senate nomination, reported $4.6 million cash-on-hand, which exceeds that of former US Rep. Stephen Fincher (R), her primary foe, who is reporting $3.7 million. Both totals include money transferred from their US House campaign accounts. Meanwhile, US Sen. Bob Corker (R), the man they seek to replace, says that news reports of his break with President Trump are “like, old,” noting that he and the president have been working together for months, and that he flew on the plane to Nashville with the president recently ……. Florida: Post focuses on process in Hastings case. Winsome Packer, a former aide to US Rep. Alcee Hastings (D), was awarded $220,000, the largest settlement paid out by the congressional Office of Compliance, in response to her accusations that Hastingsharassed her on a business trip to Vienna four years ago. Hastingsattorney called her accusation “grossly exaggerated.” Hastings told the Washington Post, in a story that began on page one and followed with a full page inside the A section, that “I wasn’t in the mediation session. I wasn’t part of the settlement negotiations. I secreted nothing.” The article outlined the complex settlement procedure involved in such cases …….