30 Day Out Fundraising Reports Roundup: The Statewide Candidates

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Per Texas law, candidates for state office must file fundraising reports every six months. Additionally, any candidate in a contested election must file an additional fundraising report that reflects their holdings thirty days before voting begins in that election. Candidates in contested primaries had to file reports by February 3 which reflected how much money they raised between January 1 and January 23 as well as how much cash they have remaining on hand. With in-person voting starting next week, these fundraising reports could provide helpful clues on who is favored to win their party's nomination.

This week, Burnt Orange Report will look at all statewide primaries and all legislative primaries that feature an incumbent or seats that could be considered competitive come November's general election.

Statewide, Republicans have contested primaries for all offices while the Democrats will have spirited contests for Governor, Agriculture Commissioner and Railroad Commissioner. All fundraising reports were pulled from the website of the Texas Ethics Commission.

Full analysis and race-by-race rundown of contested statewide primaries can be found after the jump.In the tables, “Raised since '13” represents the amount of money a candidate raised from January 1 to January 23. “EoY 2013 CoH” represents how much money a candidate retained in their bank account on December 31, 2013. “Current CoH” represents how much money a candidate had remaining in their bank account on January 23, 2014. “CoH” is shorthand for “Cash on Hand.”

Governor (R)

Even an extreme conservative like Greg Abbott could not escape a primary challenge from the TEA Party. In twenty-three days, General Abbott pulled in $3,130,779 and is sitting on $29,431,521 in his bank account. Talk radio host Lisa Fritsch has pulled in $6,059 in the same time period and has $126,135 left to spend. She also loaned her own campaign $155,000. Miriam Martinez raised and maintains no money and Larry “Secede” Kilgore has $73. Prediction: Greg Abbott will handily win the Republican nomination for Governor in the first round, but it will be fun to see how much the TEA Party will make him bleed off first.

Governor (D)

Most people do not even know that Sen. Wendy Davis has a primary challenger and based on the fundraising reports, that's understandable. Reynaldo Madrigal did not file his 30 day out report, but he had an absolute $0.00 left at the end of December. Sen. Davis, meanwhile raised $912,996 across her three committees in January and has $10,295,542 in her bank accounts to spend against Abbott in the general election. Prediction: Sen. Davis wins the Democratic nomination with over 85% of the vote.

Lieutenant Governor (R)


Candidate Raised Since '13 EoY 2013 CoH Current CoH
D. Dewhurst $253,528 $1,411,690 $648,513
D. Patrick $150,218 $3,087,613 $289,231
J. Patterson $36,204 $563,972 $448,299
T. Staples $159,431 $3,109,190 $600,429

This has been the most aggressive statewide primary in Texas with four high-profile and well-funded candidates competing against each other. This is also the only statewide primary to feature an incumbent seeking re-election. Since December 31, most of the candidates have spent most of their millions of dollars, but all still retain hundreds of thousands of dollars for the final thirty days. Incumbent Dewhurst has been steady with his funding, but has the ability to self-fund. Challengers Dan Patrick and Todd Staples have each spent well over $2,000,000 in early January, making their moves to try and finish in the top two. Land Commissioner Patterson, however, started with the least amount of money and continues to raise poorly, leaving him far behind. Prediction: This race is going to a run off. While Dewhurst is betting on his name ID and incumbency to make him a top two finisher, it could be a battle to the finish between Staples and Patrick. Patrick can self fund to a certain extent and could always give himself the final push if he needs it. Patterson is likely to finish last.

Attorney General (R)

Candidate Raised Since '13 EoY 2013 CoH Current CoH
D. Branch $209,468 $4,935,358 $4,306,617
K. Paxton $51,452 $2,294,850 $2,294,850
B. Smitherman $217,085 $2,094,462 $101,887

State Rep. Dan Branch has all the money. With over $4,000,000 left to spend, the Branch campaign should be feeling confident. State Senator Ken Paxton's $2,000,000 is nothing to ignore, however. Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman has spent most of his money in the last month, similar to some Lieutenant Governor candidates, hoping a media blitz will get him the win. Prediction: Branch is clearly in the driver's seat, but lacks the support of movement conservatives. The question is if $4,000,000 is enough to avoid a run off. It likely will not be and Branch will face Paxton again in April.

Comptroller (R)


Candidate Raised Since '13 EoY 2013 CoH Current CoH
G. Hegar $263,589 $2,571,970 $2,681,248
H. Hilderbran $117,780 $1,342,568 $1,049,832
D. Medina $2,933 $52,059 $35,222
R. Torres $1,150 $1,258 $2,215

While there are four Republican candidates running for this office, this is really a two person affair. Activist Debra Medina and former State Rep. Raul Torres are both raising the kinds of funds needed for a seat in the Texas House rather than a statewide office. Sen. Hegar and Rep. Hilderbran are both reporting healthy totals, although, Sen. Hegar appears to have the momentum. Sen. Hegar has raised double and maintains just over two and a half times the cash in his campaign account as Rep. Hilderbran. Prediction: Sen. Hegar appears to have placed just enough space between himself and Rep. Hilderbran in the financial race. Combined with his support among movement conservatives, Sen. Hegar may win the Republican nomination without a runoff.

Land Commissioner (R)

George P. Bush has $2,872,544 left in his bank account. He added $193,722 to his campaign since January 1. His primary challenger, David Watts has just shy of $2,000 left in his account, which is about what he raised and had left at the end of last year. Prediction: George P. Bush has nothing to worry about and should easily win the Republican nomination.

Agriculture Commissioner (R)


Candidate Raised Since '13 EoY 2013 CoH Current CoH
J. Allen Carnes $39,419 $121,330 $76,633
T. Merritt $15,550 $534,074 $464,323
S. Miller $42,956 $127,293 $158,591
E. Opiela $101,913 $$1,185,606 $1,179,039

This race features two former State Representatives, a south Texas Mayor, and a former executive director of the Texas Republican Party. However, based on the fundraising reports, this really appears to just be a two person affair. Mayor J. Allen Carnes and former State Rep. Sid Miller are short on funds when compared to their two other opponents. Carnes has $76,633 left to spend and Miller has $158,591. Former Rep. Merritt, meanwhile, has close to half a million left to spend after loaning himself exactly half a million dollars. Eric Opiella, the former executive director of the Texas Republican Party, is the only candidate with over a million dollars left to spend and was the only one with over million dollars at the end of last year. Of course, Mr. Opiella lent his campaign $780,706 to get that commanding financial lead. A fifth candidate, Joe Cotton, has not filed any fundraising reports. Prediction: Eric Opiella and Tommy Merritt are heading to a run off.

Agriculture Commissioner (D)


Candidate Raised Since '13 EoY 2013 CoH Current CoH
H. Fitzsimons $23,760 $74,401 $81,976
K. Friedman $739 $22,160 $21,253
J. Hogan $0 $0 $0

The Democrats have three choices: One with some money, one with name ID and less money, and a blank slate with no money. Rancher Hugh Fitzsimons had close to $80,000 at the end of the year and maintains a similar amount with thirty days to go. Humorist Kinky Friedman is further behind with close to $20,000 remaining in his bank account. Jim Hogan, whom no information could be found, raised and maintains $0. Prediction: While Fitzsimons has a clear financial advantage, $80,000 is not enough to run a complete campaign in Texas. The electoral winner in this race may be decided by chance.

Railroad Commissioner (R)


Candidate Raised Since '13 EoY 2013 CoH Current CoH
B. Berger $850 $24,352 $19,059
M. Boyuls $31,714 $468,550 $53,053
W. Christian $20,962 $1,099,892 $1,084,880
R. Sitton $8,300 $1,279,465 $457,458

The four person race for the Republican nomination for Railroad Commissioner features a former Texas Representative, a former candidate for Texas Representative, and two Republican Party activists. As one can expect, the two activists, Becky Berger and Malachi Boyuls badly trail in fundraising, although, Mr. Boyuls did pretty well and would be in the mix if it wasn't for self-loans from Mr. Sitton and former Rep. Christian. Ryan Sitton has spent half of his bank account since the end of last year and maintains close to half a million dollars. Former Rep. Christian maintains over a million dollars. Prediction: This election can go several ways. It is starting to get further down on the ballot, so it is possible voters are not paying attention. The most likely scenarios are either Wayne Christian will win right out or a runoff will occur between Christian and Mr. Sitton.

Railroad Commissioner (D)

In this race, Democrats are dealing with two broke candidates. Former Fort Bend County Chair Steve Brown has raised $1,085 and maintains $431 while former nominee Dale Henry has raised and maintains an absolute $0.00. Prediction: This race will likely be decided by chance. Local club and newspaper endorsements may do the most to persuade voters in this race where the candidates can not reach the voters themselves.

You can review all the candidates running for office in Texas at our Burnt Orange Report Candidate Trackers:

– Statewide Offices

– US Congress

– Texas Senate

– Texas House

– State Board of Education

You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.


About Author

Joseph Vogas

Joseph was raised in Friendswood, Texas in North Galveston County. He went on to graduate from the University of North Texas with a degree in Political Science. After working for multiple campaigns, Joseph was able to work in the 83rd legislature in Austin in 2013. While retired from professional campaign work, Joseph enjoys sharing his knowledge of campaign data how to win elections in naturally unfriendly turf with others. Joseph is an avid archer and enjoys all things geek including Star Wars and DC Comics.

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