Former Republican Party of Texas chairman Tom Pauken has announced he won’t be running in his party’s primary race for governor.

In a letter to supporters, Pauken said the fundraising gap between him and Attorney General Greg Abbott was too great, and that there didn’t appear to be a realistic path to victory.

“Filing deadline is only days away, and I have to be realistic about our prospects. When I first filed our exploratory committee in March, I said at the time that there were certain, minimum objectives we needed to achieve to win the Republican nomination: (1) We had to raise a minimum of $2 million; (2) We had to build a strong, statewide organization; (3) We had to develop a major social media presence in a short period of time.

Even though I have worked hard to get our message out across the state the past six months, unfortunately we are nowhere near where we need to be financially and organizationally to win this race.” 

As of their last fundraising reports, Abbot’s campaign claimed more than $22 million in cash on hand, compared to just over $200,000 for Pauken. Abbott released a statement shortly after Pauken’s announcement, praising him for his public service.

“As a Vietnam veteran, a member of the Reagan Administration, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and head of the Texas Workforce Commission, Tom has dedicated his career to public service and advancing conservatism. Tom has been an insightful and effective voice for common-sense solutions in Texas. In the race for Governor, Tom offered thoughtful ideas in areas such as vocational education and workforce development. I thank him for his valuable contributions to the race, and I look forward to working together with him to build an even better Texas.”

Pauken hasn’t said what he plans to do next, but promised to continue work to end “insider cronyism” and to “fight for our founding principles.”