Gov. Abbott has $41M but no major challenger yet for 2018

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott waves to supporters as he and his wife, Cecilia, arrive for an event where he announced his bid for re-election, Friday, July 14, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is starting his re-election bid with nearly $41 million on hand and still no major challenger for 2018.

Fundraising numbers announced Monday mean Abbott is returning to the campaign trail with nearly twice the money as when he launched his first run for governor in 2013.

That gives Abbott a big and potentially daunting head start on whoever emerges to challenge him. Democrats are still looking for a candidate to put at the top of the ticket.

Democrats haven't won a statewide race since 1994 and Abbott handily defeated Democrat Wendy Davis by 20 points in 2014.

Abbott is reviving anti-abortion measures, school finance reforms and a "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people in a special legislative session that starts Tuesday.

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