Freshman Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is showing other Democrats how to establish oneself in a district with a slight conservative lean. Candidates for federal office must file fundraising reports every three months and disclose their donors as well as how much money they have taken in and remains in their bank accounts. Because Texas had its primary in early March, federal candidates also had to file pre-primary reports in February. While the reports from most other states show the amount raised from January 1 to March 31, the reports from Texas for this quarter will show the amount raised from mid-February to March 31.
Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is in position to overwhelm his Republican opponents
In the 47 days remaining of the first fundraising quarter of 2014, Rep. Gallego raised $273,424.56. This is the second most of any congressional candidate still running for office in Texas. Rep. Gallego raised this much money without his campaign taking on any debt.
His Republican opponents, including a former congressman, did much worse; and national prognosticators are beginning to notice they are having trouble keeping up. Click after the jump to see how much worse and what the opinion leaders in DC are saying about Rep. Gallego's chances of re-election.
|During the same fundraising period, Gallego's Republican opponents, former Congressman "Quico" Canseco raised $40,312.00 and Will Hurd took in $59,851.02. Because neither Republican earned over 50% in the March 4 primary, they will continue spending their money on negative attacks on each other, draining their accounts, while Gallego continues to save up.
As for money in their accounts, Gallego has $730,943.08 left in cash on hand. Canseco and Hurd are far behind with $161,654.69 and $40,260.06 respectively. Pete Gallego already has over 4.5 times as much stored up and ready to spend as his closest Republican opponent; a gap that will greatly widen after the May 27 runoff.
Adding misery to the Republicans, Canseco and Hurd's finances have largely come from loans to themselves, loans they must one-day repay. Canseco is in debt for $1,065,361.08 and Hurd is in debt for $70,000.00.
Here are the fundraising numbers for Texas' Congressional District 23 in 1Q 2014:
||1Q Raised, Post-Primary
||Total Raised this Cycle
||Current Cash on Hand
|Pete Gallego (D)
|"Quico" Canseco (R)
|Will Hurd (R)
With such a dominate fundraising report and a record of well-representing the people of southwest Texas, national race analysts Stuart Rothenberg and Nathan Gonzales of The Rothenberg Political Report and Roll Call changed their electoral projection on Congressional District 23.
On Thursday, Roll Call moved Congressional District 23 from a rating of "Lean Democrat" to the safer "Democrat Favored," one position away from being off the board of competitive races entirely.
Their column read:
Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco is one of at least a couple former members running in 2014 who isn't exactly being embraced by all in his party.
Canseco was elected in 2010 but lost re-election two years later to Democrat Pete Gallego, 50 percent to 46 percent. This cycle, Canseco is running again but is locked in a May 27 primary runoff with former CIA officer Will Hurd. Hurd finished first in the 2010 GOP primary, but lost to Canseco in the runoff.
This race appears to be suffering from a GOP enthusiasm gap. Republican strategists had hoped to recruit a Hispanic businesswoman, but she could not tie up her professional loose ends before the early filing deadline and decided not to run.
Low enthusiasm certainly doesn't change the fundamental nature of the district. Mitt Romney won it with 51 percent in 2012, and President Barack Obama carried it narrowly with 50 percent in 2008. But it can be an indication of where Republicans will (and will not) devote financial resources this fall.
This race could come back into the conversation of the most competitive races in the country. But that's not the current trajectory of the race.
We're changing our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of the race from Lean Democrat to Democrat Favored.
You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.