On July 15, financial reports for candidates, PACs, and political parties were due to the Texas Ethics Commission. For the state of Texas, any candidate running for a state office has to report biennially, every six months, while those who are running for a federal office must report quarterly, meaning every three months. Further, incumbent state-level candidates can not raise funds while the legislature is in session; meaning fundraising reports for all statewide offices, except US Senate, only reflects funds raised for a few days out of the last six months in addition to funds left over from previous campaigns. While the reports were due on July 15, the fundraising deadline reflected in these reports was on June 30.
This roundup will only include candidates who have announced for statewide office or have publicly sent signs they will announce within the next few weeks. Many of the candidates listed had not announced publicly they were running for a statewide office before the June 30 deadline.
Click below the jump to see a complete fundraising report that shows the total cash raised and cash on hand for announced statewide candidates.
Before reviewing the summaries, it is important to know three very important terms.
- -Raised: The amount of money collected by the candidate in the quarterly (federal) or biennial (state) report.
-Cash on Hand (CoH): This is how much money a candidate has remaining in their bank account at the point the financial report was filed.
-Loans Outstanding: Debts the campaign has taken on, usually from a candidate writing a check to their campaign from their personal bank account. This data is cumulative for the entirety of the campaign.
-Incumbent (I): This is a person who currently holds the office referenced.
Further, thus far only Republicans have announced bids for statewide offices, so all candidates listed are seeking the Republican Party's nomination for the office referenced. State level fundraising records can be found by searching the Texas Ethics Commission's website here and federal fundraising records can be found at the Federal Election Commission's website here.
Between his incumbency and position as Minority Whip, Sen. John Cornyn had a very busy quarter. He raised over $4.1 million in the last three months and has just under $6 million in CoH. Of his two minor primary challengers, Dwayne Stovall and Erick Wyatt, one did not file a report and the other reported raising and maintaining $25. Another important difference in federal races and the state races is there are limits on the total funds a candidate can raise: Sen. Cornyn was limited to raising a total of $5,200 per individual, while the candidates for state office have no fundraising limits, making Sen. Cornyn's $4.1 million all the more impressive.
Attorney General Greg Abbott had the most successful fundraising report of all announced candidates. He raised $4,791,071 and has $20,978,129.91 left in CoH. This is more raised and more cash on hand than any other candidate for any other office in Texas during this filing period. Mr. Abbott's main announced primary challenger, former Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Pauken, reported raising a little more than $120,000 and having about the same amount saved in his bank account. However, Mr. Pauken also reported an outstanding loan of $100,000 which implies he likely wrote a check to his own campaign of $100,000. The other two candidates, Larry “Secede” Kilgore and Miriam Martinez did not report having raised any funds.
All four major candidates are finishing at about the same place in this contest, whether it was from an existing cash stockpile or if the difference was made this biennium. Incumbent David Dewhurst raised over $1.2 million and has over $1.7 million banked. Governor Dewhurst is independently wealthy and has the ability to write himself a check from his personal bank account if he feels the need, although that has not happened yet. Land Commissioner Patterson had a disappointing report for the race with less than half a million raised, finishing in last place of the Lieutenant Governor candidates in CoH with $1.2 million in the bank. Senator Dan Patrick was the last to announce for this race, and did so after the fundraising biennium, so his $86,490 raised should not be a surprise, but existing stockpiles from his Texas Senate account brought his CoH to over $2 million, currently giving him more money to spend than the incumbent. Finally, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, raised just over $1 million and is finishing with the most CoH at over $2.9 million ready to be spent.
It is still early and all the candidates did a respectable job in their fundraising and CoH, so it's still anyone's game, but Land Commissioner Patterson's raised and CoH is worth watching. A million dollars is nothing to snicker at, but in a state as large as Texas and with opponents holding onto close to twice his CoH or more, he may start showing signs of falling behind sooner than the others as the campaign progresses.
Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman was the first into the race, but that did not give him a fundraising advantage against the long pent-up expectation of State Rep. Dan Branch's eventual run. Smitherman raised close to $700,00 and has just over $1 million in CoH. Rep. Dan Branch, who had telegraphed his desire to run for Attorney General for years, reported raising over $1.7 million which combined with his existing Texas House funds to give him just over $4 million CoH. Senator Ken Paxton is expected to announce he is joining the race later this week, and reported raising over a quarter of a million dollars and would start with $1.6 million CoH.
State Rep. Branch is starting out with the most resources, but watch for Sen. Paxton to catch up should he announce, as expected. Commissioner Smitherman had made his intention to run for Attorney General public since the middle of session; but if he could only pull a little over a third of State Rep. Branch's haul it does not bode well for his campaign in the future.
Senator Glenn Hegar is in a commanding lead, currently, for this race. His $221,000 may look small compared to the other offices mentioned above, but for the Comptroller race, it makes him look like the king. Former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina and one-term State Rep. Raul Torres both reported both had poor showings with approximately $55,000 and $2,500 raised and CoH respectively. Sen. Hegar's $1.8 million CoH should do short work of both of these candidates.
The only thing that may stop Sen. Hegar from winning the Republican nomination is if rumors bear out that State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran will enter this race as well. Rep. Hilderbran (not seen in the table) raised under $400,000 and has over $1 million CoH. Should Rep. Hilderbran decide to shake up this race, Burnt Orange Report will let you know.
George P. Bush's family connections and national fundraising base are bearing fruit, he raised over $2 million dollars, only to be outdone by Greg Abbott and John Cornyn in finances raised. He has $2.6 million CoH compared to just over $1,000 for his unknown primary challenger, David Watts.
The only currently announced candidate is Eric Opiela, a former executive director of the Texas Republican Party, who appears, at this point, to largely be relying on a loan to himself. Mr. Opiela raised over $7,000, but finished with close to a quarter of a million dollars CoH thanks in part to a $280,000 self-loan. He will need to improve his fundraising ability because it's expected next month that State Rep. Brandon Creighton will announce that he will also be running for Agriculture Commissioner. Rep. Creighton pulled in half a million dollars and has $861,000 waiting in the bank to spend to win this nomination.
In the final statewide race, it would be surprising to report that Attorney Malachi Boyuls out-raised sitting State Representative Stefanie Carter, until you read Mr. Boyuls' biography where it mentions he has served on the fundraising committees of the Texas Republican Party and the campaigns of several Republican candidates. Still, Rep. Carter's $10,000 raised and $3,000 CoH can only be reported as shockingly disappointing and Mr. Boyuls $198,000 raised and $329,000 CoH only makes it look worse for her. Republican activist Becky Berger raised and maintains less than $1,000 and attorney Joe Pool, Jr., entered the race after the first biennium report was due.
The next fundraising reports for state offices are due in mid-January with the fundraising deadline falling at the end of the year on December 31. The next fundraising deadline for federal offices will occur at the end of September.