Round-Up of Q1 Texas Congressional Fundraising

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Quarterly fundraising reports for Congressional candidates were due to the FEC April 15. These reports give a sense of how the candidates — especially those that filed in March, at the end of the second filing period — are doing amassing cash for their runs.

The numbers in selected races are below. For the full list, see the Tribune. Pithy analysis available below the jump.

Special thanks to our magnificent friends at DailyKos Elections who furnished much of this data for us!

Pithy analysis below the jump.Biggest Q1 Raisers: The top raisers are all candidates in the two closest general election races. Quico “I Vote Against First Responders” Canseco led all raisers with $366K, no doubt buoyed by the lobbyist and special interest fundraising junket he took. Former Congressman Nick Lampson, the Democratic favorite in the new CD-14, came in second with $301K. Just behind him was State Rep. Pete Gallego in his bid for CD-23, raising $299K. Gallego is part of a three-way primary to face Canseco in the fall.

Most Enthusiastic Self-Supporters: The candidates who contributed the most to their campaigns are Barbara Carlson (GOP challenger in CD-22), Anthony Troiani (Dem primary candidate in CD-34), and William F. Tofte (GOP primary candidate in CD-36). Note that contributions to one's campaign cannot be paid back. That money is gone.

Biggest Short-Term Self-Investors: David Alameel (CD-33), Domingo Garcia (CD-33), and Filemon Vega (CD-24) all loaned their campaigns significant cash. All 3 candidates are in crowded primaries, and perhaps they think that a hefty sum of their own money is what's needed to cut through the clutter? Alameel's $2 million self-loan is the biggest of the batch, and makes up for the fact that he raised $0. Note that with loans, the candidates can pay themselves back later from their campaign accounts. It's a gamble, but in these crowded primaries, the huge cash advantage may be what it takes to get into at least a run-off.

Hey, Big Spender: David Alameel, Lloyd Doggett, and Silvestre Reyes spent the most this past quarter. Doggett's been amassing a sizeable war-chest for years in anticipation of this kind of redistricting battle he now faces. His race will be decided in the primary, so now's the time to spend it. Ditto with Reyes, who faces a serious challenger in Beto O'Rourke. As for Alameel, he's clearly using his hefty $2M self-loan to try and propel himself onto the radar of voters in CD-33.

Most Contributions This Cycle: The biggest raisers this entire cycle are Quico “I Vote Against Cops & Firefighters” Canseco, the GOP incumbent in CD-23, at $1.4M; Lamar Smith, GOP incumbent in CD-21, at $1.2M; and Lloyd Doggett, incumbent in CD-25 and now running in CD-35, at $969K.

Fat Wallets: The most cash on hand goes to Lloyd Doggett at $3.2M, David Alameel at $1.6M ($2M of which is his), and Roger Williams at $1.4M, who raised a crap-ton when he was preparing to run in the Legislature's original incarnation of CD-33, before switching down to CD-25 for some Williams on (Michael) Williams action.

Ah, but what about some of these individual races? Glad you asked.

CD-14: BOR Reader Poll winner Nick Lampson bested the main GOP challengers in Q1, bringing in over $300K. His contributions to date and cash on hand remain competitive for this swing district, and remember that his GOP opponent will deplete his bank account not once, but twice to get the nomination in this reconfiguration of Ron Paul's old district.

CD-15: In the crowded primary race to challenge Ruben Hinojosa, it's clear that the challengers aren't mustering up much financial support.

CD-16: Incumbent Silvestre Reyes outraised and outspent challenger Beto O'Rourke, yet the challenger still maintains a 23K advantage in cash on hand. O'Rourke is one of the top fundraising challengers to an incumbent on the Democratic side this cycle. Additionally, the Campaign for Primary Accountability Super PAC has said they will get involved in the race to support O'Rourke as well. Lots of money will be spent in this El Paso district in the next month.

CD-23: Pete Gallego brought in an impressive haul of $299K, spending about half of that and retaining over $280K cash on hand. It helps that he's been running hard in this district basically the entire cycle, and didn't switch seats or wait to make a definitive announcement as main primary opponent Ciro Rodriguez did. Regardless of who wins the primary, they'll be facing a very well funded Republican incumbent in Quico Canseco, who clearly did pretty well on that front. Must be nice to pick up those huge special interest checks and then do your donors' bidding, eh Quico?

CD-25: In the Williams-on-Williams primary, Roger enjoys a substantial fundraising advantage over Michael, who apparently filed an incorrect report showing that he'd raised no money. He claims he raised $15,000 and apparently has $185K cash on hand. New reports have not been filed yet. But honestly, the midsection of this district — where the Republicans are — is so white that you could literally call it Cracker Barrel country, and you wouldn't be talking about the restaurant. I don't see how Michael Williams prevails when members of his own party mistake him for a waiter. Must be the bowtie.

CD-27: The two leading Democratic candidates, Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald and Nueces County Assistant County Attorney and former Democratic County Chair, Rose Meza Harrison, were closely matched in funds raised this quarter and in cash on hand. The winner faces an extremely uphill battle in both voter demographics and finances, as Blake “Ducky Pajamas” Farenthold is sitting on  $249K.

CD-30: Eddie Bernice Johnson faces two serious challengers this cycle, State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway and attorney Taj Clayton. Clayton has been a truly impressive fundraiser from the get-go, besting EBJ two quarters ago. She's kicked her game into a higher gear and outraised him $204K to $132K this past quarter. Clayton's deploying his war chest in this Dallas district, spending about half of what he's raised in the last quarter. With the primary fast approaching, now's the time.

CD-33: It's a crowded 11-way race for this new minority-opportunity district in the Metroplex, and the leading contenders will have plenty of cash to use to propel themselves into the inevitable run-off. State Rep. Marc Veasey raised the most, at $127K, and leads in all funds raised from other people to date. However, David Alameel loaned his campaign $2 million dollars, and former State Rep. Domingo Garcia loaned his $300K. It's a gamble, but given the Democratic certainty of the district come November, one can see how self-funding candidates may decide that it's worth investing their own funds to make the run-off and try to win the seat, and theoretically raise enough funds later on to pay themselves back after the primary. That being said, voters may not want a candidate who spends their money to buy the seat.

CD-34: This crowded open seat in South Texas has drawn many solid challengers with strong governmental experience. Filemon Vega leads the pack in fundraising, and also loaned himself $150K. The top raiser to date is still Armando Villalobos, at $157K for the campaign.

CD-35: I bet no one's questioning the wisdom of Lloyd Doggett raising and saving up a massive war-chest over the last decade now, are they? Doggett's got $3.2M in the bank, raised another $147K this past quarter, and spent $344K. Again, now's the time, since Doggett has a plethora of new voters in San Antonio to which he must introduce himself. Meanwhile, his main challenger, Bexar County Tax Assessor Sylvia Romo, raised $52K and has $14K on hand.  


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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