Houston Mayoral Candidates Rake in the Cash

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Yesterday an impressive fundraising number was making rounds that we did not get around to posting here at BOR.  Annise Parker, a mayoral candidate in Houston's 2009 elections, a Democrat, Houston City Controller, and an open lesbian, had raised over $800,000 for her campaign and also gave some other impressive statistics.  From her press release:

The Annise Parker for Mayor Campaign released its fundraising totals through June 30 today, raising $810,114.92 from 2,254 donors.

“We're building a grassroots campaign like Houston has never seen before,” said Parker. “It will take all of us to keep Houston moving through these tough times to a strong economic recovery – and that's why there is a place in our campaign for everyone to make a difference.”

The proof, according to Parker's campaign manager Adam Harris, is in the numbers:

• 2,254 donors – the campaign set a goal of 2,000 donors for the period and easily surpassed it

• 7,008 supporters on Facebook and Twitter – greater than three times those of all Parker's opponents combined

• 1,099 online donors contributed a total of $303,927.87

• In the last two days of the period, 291 donors contributed $42,948 online in response to an email appeal Parker sent to her supporters

• 1,002 donors made 1,144 contributions of $50 or less

• 742 people signed up to volunteer

Today, Gene Locke, former Houston City Attorney and another Democrat, showed that she could be beaten.  From his press release:

The Gene Locke for Mayor campaign today announced that it had raised more than $1.15 million in its first reporting period of the campaign. More than 30% was raised between June 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009, showing the growing support and energy for Locke to be elected the next mayor of Houston.

Locke was the last major candidate to announce his candidacy for mayor on March 26, 2009, midway through the reporting period. Despite his relatively late start, Locke outpaced his opponents, who came into the race as previously elected officials with large war chests and a built-in network of supporters.

“Houstonians are investing in our campaign because they know that when I am mayor I will build a bridge to a new era of opportunity and prosperity for Houston,” said Locke. “When I came to Houston I had $20 in my pocket and it's encouraging to start my campaign for mayor with considerably more than that thanks to the generosity of so many Houstonians. We've got a long way to go and a lot of sweat equity yet to earn, but our fundraising success shows the strength of our support.”

There are two other prominent names in the race for Mayor of Houston: City Councilman Peter Brown, who happens to be a Democrat, and Harris County Board of Education Trustee Roy Morales, who happens to be a Republican.

Beyond knowing that two Democrats are campaigning with success to become the next mayor of America's 4th largest city, one can't help but compare these numbers to Tom Schieffer's lackluster numbers that were announced yesterday.  True, the Houston elections are a year earlier than the Gubernatorial election (they happen this November), but there are also stricter contribution limits for Houston elections than statewide elections.  In Houston elections, individuals max out at $5,000 per candidate per cycle, and PACs max out at $10,000.  

That makes this comparison between Houston candidates and Gubernatorial candidate Schieffer even more impressive for Parker and Locke while simultaneously more depressing for non-Houston Texas Democrats.   If we are going to stand a chance to win the Governor's seat in 2010, Tom Schieffer must pick it up or someone who is more effective must get into the fray.  This pace just won't keep up with Kay Bailey Hutchison or Rick Perry.

Update: Peter Brown has released his numbers, too; $1.7 million cash-on-hand.  Note that less than a third of Brown's cash-on-hand number was raised during this filling period.  It looks like Gene Locke's release explicitly says his number was for this current filing period and Parker's release implies the same for her number.

Anyways, here is the key part of Brown's release:

Houston mayoral candidate Peter Brown announced today that he has amassed a war chest of over $1,7 million for his election – more than any other candidate in the race.  Brown's support continues to grow and his campaign continues to pick up momentum as the candidates head toward the traditional beginning of campaign season.

“We have exceeded our goal,” said Peter Brown.  “Houstonians are responding to my plans to cut crime, bring new jobs to the city and improve our quality of life.  Other candidates might be relying on downtown special interests or  combing San Francisco and New York City for donations, but my campaign is focusing on donors who live and vote right here in Houston – who have a stake in the future of our city.”

The Peter Brown for Mayor Campaign has raised over $477,000 since January first of this year bringing his total cash on hand to $1,756,031.


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  1. Fundraising numbers
    You may have overlooked Chris Bell's recent comments in the Star-Telegram concerning Tom Schieffer's fundraising numbers, which give much-needed perspective:

    “It's a lot more than I raised at this juncture in 2005,” said former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell of Houston, who challenged Perry in the 2006 race. “It's really, really tough for Democrats to raise money this early in the game, given the playing field.”

    As incumbent politicians who have toed the line for moneyed interests for many years, Perry and Hutchison are going to raise enormous sums.  There is no question about that.   The power structure has their chips on red.  

    As Democrats, we must raise enough to be competitive — to fund GOTV efforts and ad buys when the time comes.  Tom Schieffer is doing a much better job of this than any other Democratic gubernatorial candidate in recent memory.  We can use everyone's help in the months ahead.


    • Better is not enough to win
      We can acknowledge that Tom Schieffer is doing better than his predecessors, and because of that I am not counting him out as a legitimate candidate.  He just needs to pick up the pace.

      If Chris Bell had the fundraising pace in 2006 that Schieffer has started now, he might be Governor today.  But Rick Perry is arguably more popular now than he was then…or at least less unpopular.

      Perry's approval/disapproval in May 2005: 38 approve, 48 disapprove

      Perry's approval/disapproval in June 2009 (.pdf): 42 approve, 32 disapprove.  True, the Republican primary campaign might change that, but we can't know that for sure.

  2. Peter Brown Democrat??
    Peter Brown attended a Republican fundraiser last year headlined by Karl Rove. We haven't forgotten. He also gave money to help defeat Democratic State Rep. candidates

    Kristi Thibaut and Sherrie Matula. You must be using the term “Democrat” kinda loosely here to include that old man.

    • Well, not necessarily one with the best Democrat credentials
      But I have to say he is the only one of these three candidates that I have met, and it was at a Democratic campaign.  And he is certainly as much of a Democrat as Tom Schieffer is, except that the mayor's race in Houston is non-partisan.

      One also should note that Peter Brown seems to have a hobby of going to political events, no matter what the political affiliation.

      • Good Comparison
        I like your comparing of Peter Brown's Democratic credentials with Tom Schieffer's. I don't see Peter Brown

        winning anyway. Annise Parker is the best candidate and will win.

        • That said
          I like Peter Brown.  I'm not sure if he would be my top choice for mayor, but I like him.  I have been away from Houston politics too much to make a solid judgement in that race.

          I haven't seen Schieffer in action enough to give my judgement on him.  

    • I would like to say something
      As someone who was on the Matula campaign, Peter Brown did make amends to us in his own way, and he did not headline nor host the Rove event, he merely attended and was invited to introduce himself to the audience from the stage. This has been forgiven.

      I'll leave it to others from our campaign to go into further details.

      That said, I personally am supporting Annise Parker for Mayor.

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