House Fundraising Roundup: Many Democratic Challengers Preparing for Wins in Competitive Districts

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Forty-five of the one hundred and fifty house seats in Texas will feature a Republican and a Democrat squaring off against each other in November. Thirty-six of the challengers are Democrats, while nine are Republicans.

From the beginning of January thru the end of June, three Democratic challengers out-raised their Republican opponents: Kim Gonzalez in District 43, Susan Motley in District 105, and John Bucy in District 136. Motley is running for an open seat. Wayne Faircloth is a Republican running for the only open Democratic seat and out raised his opponent, but spent most of his funds during the primary.

Cash on Hand (COH) is how much money a candidate has left in their bank account to spend in the election. Five Democratic challengers have more cash to spend than their Republican opponents: Tina Penney in District 92, Cole Ballweg in District 94, George Clayton in District 102, Leigh Bailey in District 108, and Paul Stafford in District 115. Ballweg, Clayton, Bailey, and Stafford are running in open seats. Two Republican challengers have more than their Democratic opponents: David Hamilton in District 27 and Albert McDaniel in District 95. Both are reporting under $1,000 as are the incumbent Democrats: Ron Reynolds and Nicole Collier. These are heavily Democratic districts, and Collier did report raising a strong amount for the year.

Overall, Democrats did a great job in the competitive districts. Check out the complete fundraising results for contested seats after the jump.District 23, Craig Eiland (retiring)

District 23 is the only open seat Democrats have to defend in the entire state. It is also the only seat that currently has a Democratic incumbent and was won by Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential election. But Democrats are not going down without a fight. Former Judge Susan Criss has the most COH of any Democrat in a contested House race anywhere in Texas. Judge Criss raised $105,525.18 and retains $154,864.85. While her opponent Wayne Faircloth, who lost to Rep. Eiland in 2012, out-raised her with $136,417.00, he spent most of his cash on his primary and retains $63,949.62, less than half of what Judge Criss has. Faircloth will be playing catch up with the Democrat from here until election day

District 27, Ron Reynolds

Incumbent Democrat Ron Reynolds sits in a heavily Democratic district, President Obama got 68.8% in District 27 in 2012. However, Reynolds raised $3,000.00 and retains only $361.22, a very weak amount. Republican David Hamilton raised $1,508.56 and retains $885.50, which is also weak. $885.50 is not enough to flip a Democratic district, but Reynolds is going to need to build up a larger defense, just in case Hamilton gets a late, quiet infusion of cash from a Republican donor.

District 43, J.M. Lozano

In one of the most competitive districts in the state, Democratic attorney Kim Gonzalez out-raised incumbent Republican J.M. Lozano $42,337.64 to $31,600.00. In cash on hand, Lozano has $46,902.64 while Gonzalez retains $14,151.00. The totals are small enough, that Gonzalez should be able to keep pace in this closely divided district.

District 50, Celia Israel

Note: These fundraising numbers only reflect the amount raised after Celia Israel's special election victory in January. After losing the special election, it looks like Republican Mike VanDeWalle has given up. Since the special election, VandeWalle has raised a paltry $1,000.00 and retains $3,406.92. Rep. Israel, meanwhile is taking nothing for granted: she pulled in $78,328.43 after winning and has $34,752.32 to spend for November.

District 52, Larry Gonzales

While he did not quite out-raise Republican Larry Gonzales, Democrat Chris Osborne kept pretty good pace with the incumbent Republican. Osborne pulled in $15,415.00 to Rep. Gonzales' $18,600.00. Gonzales, however has plenty of cash in his bank account from previous campaigns; $78,500.17. Osborne has $1,557.94 left to spend as of June 30.

District 89, Jodie Laubenberg

The most surprisingly positive haul I came across was Sameena Karmally who is challenging Republican Rep. Jodie Laubenberg. Karmally pulled in a very respectable $22,050.83 and retains $15,971.82. Rep. Laubenberg pulled a reasonable $29,844.85, but retains $375,201.56; which is what happens when incumbents are rarely challenged. Unchallenged incumbents store and save their cash from previous electoral cycles and try to intimidate future challengers with their large bank accounts. Karmally took a great first step and is keeping pace, but she still has a steep hill to climb for November.

District 92, Jonathan Stickland

Republican Rep. Jonathan Stickland raised $206,338.98, but he spent most of his funds on a competitive primary. As such, he's left with $6,638.54, less than that of his Democratic opponent Tina Penney, who has $6,897.66. Penney raised $9,979.51 in the first half of the year.

District 94, Diane Patrick (lost primary)

Republican Tony Tiderholt raised $91,484.00 in his primary against the incumbent, Diane Patrick. However, like Rep. Stickland, he spent most of his cash on his primary and only has $2,008.26 left, much less than the $22,345.45 retained by Cole Ballweg, his Democratic opponent. Ballweg raised $27,396.00 in the first half of the year.

District 95, Nicole Collier

Incumbent Democrat, Rep. Nicole Collier raised $15,948.16, but only has $201.45 left in her account. Unfortunately, this puts her behind her Republican opponent, Albert McDaniel, who raised and maintains only $600. Rep. Collier has shown she can raise the necessary funds to build up a defense, which she should do “just in case” Mr. McDaniel “happens to find” his bank account has suddenly grown.

District 102, Stefani Carter (lost primary)

Former Dallas Council member Linda Koop raised $154,544.96 to defeat the incumbent Republican in the primary and runoff; but this has left her with only $844.99 left in her bank account. Former State Board of Education member George Clayton raised $3,280.00 and leads Koop in COH with $1,288.00.

District 105, Linda Harper-Brown (lost primary)

In this very competitive district, Republican Rep. Linda Harper-Brown lost her primary to former one-term Rep. Rodney Anderson. Anderson, who has the ability to self-fund, raised $70,587.76 and maintains $53,440.88 in COH. Anderson's Democratic challenger, Susan Motley, out-raised him, and pulled in $122,259.81, but she had to compete in a May runoff which sucked away most of her cash, leaving her with $29,433.43 at the end of June.

District 107, Kenneth Sheets

District 107 is also a very competitive district. In this race, neither candidate faced a primary and was not forced to spend their money for the first half of the year. Democrat Carol Donovan kept pace with Republican incumbent Rep. Kenneth Sheets. Sheets raised $117,802.48 and retains $134,214.10 while Donovan raised $83,972.68 and retains $111,333.55.

District 108, Dan Branch (retiring)

Morgan Meyer raised an obscene $594,234.75 for his Republican primary and runoff, however, after winning the nomination he was left with only $56,600.00 in COH. Democrat Leigh Bailey, a newcomer to electoral politics, raised a very impressive $99,692.99 and has retained most of her money, with $69,756.53 left in COH.

District 113, Cindy Burckett

Republican Rep. Cindy Burckett is taking no chances in her competitive Dallas House District, she raised $78,100.14 and retains $100,372.78 in COH. Her Democratic challenger Milton Whitley will need to spend more time on the phone fundraising if he hopes to keep up and not get drowned out in November; Whitley raised $12,048.55 and has $15,471.51 in COH.

District 115, Bennett Ratliff (lost primary)

Matt Rinaldi raised $106,254.58 to beat Rep. Ratliff in the Republican primary. But, as has been the trend, the primary bled him dry. Rinaldi has a very weak $2,353.62 left for November. Sensing opportunity, Democrat John Stafford raised $30,909.99 and retains $12,454.62; Stafford has five times more cash to spend than his Republican opponent.

District 117, Phil Cortez

Incumbent Democrat Phil Cortez raised $78,523.98 in the first half of the year and retains$45,389.04 in COH. This is a competitive district which President Obama narrowly won in 2012, so it is great news that Cortez raised twice as much as his Republican opponent, Rick Galindo, and has over fifteen times the amount of cash in his bank account as well. Galindo has $2,955.76 left in the bank and raised $35,965.18 in the first half of the year.

District 136, Tony Dale

Democrat John Bucy had a great first half of the year! Bucy pulled in $65,964.45, just over twice of the $32,428.65 raised by incumbent Republican Tony Dale. Unfortunately, Bucy has had a high burn rate and only has $5,524.54 left in his bank account. Rep. Dale has $40,265.17 left in his account, which is certainly an amount Bucy could easily catch up with. This district closely reflects the partisan split of the state of Texas, a win here could be a blueprint for future statewide victories.

District 144, Mary Ann Perez

District 144 is the most evenly split House District in the state of Texas. President Obama won it with 50.8% of the vote. One would think, Republicans would have District 144 as one of their top targets, instead they have dropped the ball, badly. Republican Gilbert Peña raised $2,151.13 and has absolutely nothing, $0, left in his bank account. Incumbent Democrat Mary Ann Perez raised a strong $76,758.35 and has $84,874.53 left in COH.

District 149, Hubert Vo

Incumbent Democrat Hubert Vo raised $37,175.04 and retains $21,050.85 in COH. His Republican opponent, former Houston councilman Al Hoang raised $28,189.95 and retains $5,896.26 in COH. This district has a stronger Democratic lean now than it did when Rep. Vo flipped the district blue in 2004, but it is close enough that Vo can not be caught off guard. He will need to raise more if he wants to make sure former councilman Hoang does not win in November.

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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