Liveblog: Midyear Campaign Finance Reports

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Today is the deadline for political campaigns – both nationally and throughout Texas – to report their donations and expenditures for the previous filing period. As the regular legislative session is now done, and a second special session is also almost complete, the 2014 campaign will get started in full swing.

And this is how the many campaign months begin. With the finance reports, politicos and the campaigns themselves can take stock of each other. We will know how much money is already had for the upcoming campaigns.

For Texas campaigns, the fundraising period was the entire first half of 2013. There is a caveat, however — for state officeholders (legislators, too), active fundraising was only allowed in the final two weeks of June. That's because Texas elected officials may not actively raise funds during the session — or until the Governor's deadline to veto regular session bills.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, we will keep you up to date with what has been reported, and I'll liveblog some quick analysis as the numbers come in.

Let the reports begin! Click below the jump to follow it all live.  

July 18, 405 pm CORRECTION: While we had thought that the number we reported for Rico Reyes included his loan to himself, we were alerted that a closer look at the numbers would show otherwise. So, that means the ordering of candidates for amount raised is like this: Ko, Chang Sheppard, Reyes, Israel.

July 16 3:05 pm: So Tom Pauken raised little more than some local Austin politicians. True, he only recently announced and has been dormant as a politician for a decade and a half, but he's gong to need a lot more to even put a dent in Abbott. It makes sense, then, that Pauken would complain that Abbott is he GOP's “anointed one.”

July 16 1:30 pm: Let's look at the race to replace Mark Strama in HD50.

First, there is a caveat to the numbers. Jade Chang Sheppard and Rico Reyes each gave or donated money to their campaigns, and those numbers are reflected in both columns on the spreadsheet. Sheppard gave $100,000 to her campaign and Reyes loaned himself $25,000. So, if you were to rank the Democratic candidates in terms of amount raised from other donors, they would put themselves in this order: Ramey Ko, Jade Chang Sheppard, Celia Israel, and then Rico Reyes.

Most politicos expected Sheppard to raise the most money, so Ko's success is a coup and a surprise. Of course, Sheppard's $100,000 personal investment will do a lot for her, too. But this much is clear: Ko and Sheppard have set them up very well financially for a November election, while Israel and Reyes each still have enough money to put up capable campaigns, themselves. November 2013 will probably have a small electorate, though, so money certainly isn't everything.

July 16 11:10 am: A couple updates.

First, we have all of the numbers in for Travis County Commissioner Precinct 2. Garry Brown clearly has work to do to catch up to money leaders Jung and Shea. It will be a pretty low-profile race, so money's important.

Second, we finally have all of the Lieutenant Governor reports. David Dewhurst has the funds to put up a fight, which is good for him, because he'll have a fight. 3 well-funded opponents might be a bigger challenge for him than Ted Cruz was. Further, who knew Todd Staples was so goo at fundraising? Staples seemed to be the one candidate in that race with the least buzz, but he can pull in the cash, at least.

July 16 7:58 am: There was a mistake earlier with Ben Hall, running for Houston mayor against Annise Parker. We reported his candidacy report, in which he raised no money. But he has a city PAC in which he has raised a good amount. It also turns out he loaned himself $1.55 MILLION.

As has been pointed out on social media, Ben Hall spent $100,000 to pay New Stream Marketing Strategies, which is a consultant firm that also did work for Rick Santorum.  

11:35 pm: Let's talk some Wendy Davis stats. These are some general and rounded stats from her campaign:

Contributions total: $933,000

Cash on hand as of June 30, 2013: $1,063,000

Number of contributions: 15,290

Number of contributions of $250 or less: 15,050

Number of contributions of $50 or less: 13,200

$$ raised from Texas: $580,000

Number of contributions from Texas: 4,900

So how much money did Wendy Davis raise from your most basic contributor? From people who donated $50 or less, she raised at least $271,000 from over 13,000 donations. That's a ton.

There's no way to know for sure exactly how much money was generated by Davis's filibuster, but some basic guesswork tells us that it's quite a lot. Taking away the the contributions she reported from before the day of her filibuster, it's entirely feasible that over $900,000 was raised by the power of her heroic filibuster alone.

Oh, and Greg Abbott's campaign claimed that he received donations from 2,100 individuals. Wendy Davis's Texan contributors: 4,900. 4,900 is an army of hardcore supporters I would take against 2,100 any day. And if you take the nation, Wendy Davis had over seven times more contributors than Greg Abbott. Dear 15,290 Wendy Davis contributors: make phone calls if and when she runs for governor this cycle – that's the way to beat Abbott and restore sanity to Texas government.

7:16 pm: No one is raising a bunch of money to unseat Annise Parker as Mayor of Houston, but she's raising millions herself. She has raised $2.2 Million. (Maybe she should run statewide soon, huh?) Despite no raising money himself, Ben Hall is spending some — he's spent over $150,000 of his own money.

6:34 pm: As we wait for more reports to come in, let's talk about Battleground Texas. Battleground Texas told reporters earlier today that it raised $1.1 Million from its start in February to the end of June, and presumably that includes both its federal and state PACs. They tell us they had 3,537 donors, with a large percentage being small donors and an even larger percentage being online donors.

$1.1 Million is a good, solid number. It's not overwhelming, and it doesn't look like all of the big out-of-state money that hoped for by Texas activists has come in. But $1.1 Million gives Battleground Texas legitimacy. A million dollars does well in the field, and has certainly allowed Battleground to get off to its strong start (helping deputize over 2,500 volunteer voter registrars, for instance). But they need more money to accomplish their goal. Hopefully this show of legitimacy will lead to abigger national investment.

5:15 pm: We have the reports for our two County Judge candidates in. And while many expected Andy Brown to raise much more than Sarah Eckhardt, that simply wasn't the case in 2013. True, Brown still raised $20,000 more than Eckhardt, and Brown also raised a lot more at the end of 2012, but Brown is already burning through his cash at a faster rate. Brown spent over $105,000 for the reporting period, while Eckhardt spent almost $58,000. And that puts the two candidates at about the same place, money-wise, as they entered July still with about 8 months of campaigning left. This is going to be quite the competition.

4:15 pm: Wendy Davis brought in a nice haul, considering she only had 5 days in the fundraising period from the day of her filibuster. Oh, and that's from over 15,000 contributors. That's a lot.

Also, local candidate Randall Slagle is in with an impressive early report. He's taking on generally incompetent Republican Justice of the Peace Glenn Bass. At this point, $50,000 would be impressive for a countywide race, not to mention a JP!


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