June 21, 2006
Fundraising update - State House

I was sent the following from Capitol Inside, which I pass along for your enlightenment:

Republicans reaped the lion's share of headlines but Democrats raised the most cash for Texas House and Senate campaigns during the special session on schools and taxes this spring.

With about two-thirds of the special session fundraising reports posted by the Texas Ethics Commission late Friday, eight of the 10 Texas House candidates who raised the most money during the spring gathering are Democrats. Nine of the 10 candidates who reported the most contributions during the special session are challenging incumbents or running for open seats. Only one - State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles - is a current House member.

Toureilles - an Alice Democrat who's being targeted by Republicans in her quest for a third House term - reported contributions of almost $46,000 during the special session that got under way in April and ended 29 days later in May. Toureilles, who represents one out of 150 state House districts, raised one-eighth as much during the special session as Republican Governor Rick Perry did for a statewide re-election race. Toureilles' two biggest donations came from attorneys who represent plaintiffs in civil lawsuits - $10,000 from the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and $10,000 from Houston litigator Michael Gallagher.

I discussed Toureilles here, as her seat is one of only a few that the Republicans are targeting this year.

The rest of the article is beneath the fold. Be sure to read the bit about how Ellen Cohen did in comparison to Martha Wong.

With contributions of more than $36,000, Democratic challenger Ellen Cohen of Houston was the second most successful fundraiser among House candidates while legislators were meeting in special session. Cohen, who's a fundraiser by trade as the chief executive officer of the non-profit Houston Area Women's Center, will use the money that she raised during the special session for a fall race against Republican State Rep. Martha Wong, who reported special session donations of $900. While Wong's special session report paled in comparison to Cohen's, the incumbent is a proven fundraiser as well and will be expected to have a well-stocked war chest for one of the hottest House races on the general election card this year.

Texas House hopeful Juan Garcia, who's taking on Republican State Rep. Gene Seaman of Corpus Christi in another one of the most competitive battles for the Legislature in 2006, reported the heftiest bottom-line total on his special session report with overall contributions of more than $71,000. But almost $60,000 of that amount came courtesy of an in-kind contribution from Los Angeles film producer Richard Salazar, who produced a videography for Garcia and designed his campaign web site. The two were good friends at Harvard University where Garcia attended law school before beginning a career as an aviator in the Navy.

Republican Jim Murphy of Houston raised more during the special session than any of the other GOP candidates whose reports have been made public this week. Murphy - a Houston Community College board member who manages a major commercial development district - received almost $27,000 in contributions in his bid for an open state House seat while lawmakers were in session this spring. Murphy reported the largest single contribution made to a House candidate during the special session with a $20,000 from Houston home builder Bob Perry.

Murphy's opponent - Democrat Kristi Thibaut - was eighth on the special session fundraising list with contributions of more than $14,000 during that time. Thibaut and Murphy are battling for the seat that Republican State Rep. Joe Nixon decided to give up in order to run for the state Senate.

Thibaut is one of four House candidates who received $5,000 contributions from the national women's group Annie's List while the Texas Legislature was meeting this spring. Democratic contenders Harriet Miller of Dallas, Paula Hightower-Pierson of Arlington and Valinda Bolton of Austin had the fifth, seventh and ninth most successful special session fundraising efforts respectively with the help they received from Annie's List. Miller, who's dueling Republican State Rep. Tony Goolsby in a rematch of their battle two years ago, reported contributions of almost $16,000 during the special session. Hightower-Pierson, a former city council member who's challenging Republican State Rep. Toby Goodman, received donations of more than $14,500 during the special session while Bolton reported about $13,800 in contributions during the same time frame.

Bolton is running against Austin developer Bill Welch for a state House seat that outgoing Republican State Rep. Terry Keel has represented for the past 10 years. Welch was 15th on the special session fundraising list with contributions of slightly more than $10,000.

Republican George Antuna of San Antonio ranked 10th in special session donations after taking in more than $13,000 for a race for a seat that Democratic State Rep. Carlos Uresti decided to give up so he could run for the state Senate instead. While Antuna reported the second highest amount for a Republican, his Democratic opponent, former Harlandale school trustee Joe Farias, was sixth overall with contributions of more than $15,000 while the Legislature was meeting this spring.

Antuna was one of several Republican contenders who received $3,000 contributions from the Associated Republicans of Texas. ART gave that amount to House hopefuls Larry Durrett of Jacksonville, Jim Landtroop of Planview and Tom Kleinschmidt of Lexington while the special session was under way. Durrett and Kleinschmidt are gunning for incumbent Democratic State Reps. Chuck Hopson and Robby Cook respectively while Landtroop duels Democrat Joe Heflin for the West Texas seat that former House Speaker Pete Laney isn't seeking again in 2006.

Some of the largest donations given to candidates during the special session included $10,000 that Republican Brandon Creighton of Conroe picked up from James Leininger's Future of Texas Alliance PAC and $10,000 contributions that the TTLA made to both Toureilles and Farias. TTLA's donation to Farias was used to pay consultant James Aldrete's retainer. Cohen accepted a $10,000 contribution from retired Houston resident Sara Morgan.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 21, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack