July 18, 2006
More campaign finance report news

I've taken the results of the FEC Summary Search Reports query for Texas candidates and put it into a spreadsheet for convenience and future reference. It's mostly up to date as I draft this, though the Senatorials are all still on the March 31 report. I've filtered out most of the no-longer-relevant candidates for ease of reading, though I left in all comers from CDs 22 and 28 (including one in CD28 I've never heard of) just in case.

I put a little extra at the end, people who are interesting in some way despite their absence from the November ballot. Some choice tidbits for you:

- Libertarian CD10 candidate Michael Badnarik is the only non-major-party representative in the report. Presumably, no one else has collected enough contributions to be required to file one. Badnarik has boasted of his fundraising ability, and it's true that he's collected some $300K for his race. He's also spent nearly that same amount, and has $9500 on hand. I wouldn't be expecting a media blitz from him any time soon.

- Chet Edwards continues to be a fundraising mammoth. He's got $1.5 million on hand, which puts him comfortably ahead of challenger Van Taylor, who is at $454K. Edwards' campaign in a press release also made a point of emphasizing where each candidate's contributions came from:

While Edwards raised $132,125 in individual, itemized contributions from the district for the quarter, Van Taylor's in-district receipts totaled just $21,150 despite a personal fundraising visit from Vice President Cheney. 55% of Edwards' individual contributions came from the district; only 6% of Taylor's did. For the entire 2006 election cycle, Edwards has raised $407,290 in itemized contributions from the district, more than five and a half times the $72,755 Taylor has raised here. Taylor is also still $150,000 in debt because of a last-minute loan the challenger made to his campaign when he was struggling to win the divisive March primary election. The Edwards campaign has no debt.


"Even though he had never lived here until 13 months ago, Mr. Taylor is fond of bragging that he is running 'the best campaign this district has ever seen,'" [Edwards campaign manager Chris] Turner said. "The truth is, Mr. Taylor's floundering campaign is obviously in deep trouble when he cannot even raise a third of the money Arlene Wohlgemuth raised in the district."

At this point in the 2004 race, Wohlgemuth had raised three times more than Taylor has in the district, $246,854.

Though state races don't appear in this report, the Ellen Cohen campaign made a similar comparison for her race against Martha Wong:

Ellen Cohen

Amount Raised during the reporting period: $194,022.00
Amount raised from registered voters in the district: $129,171.00 (66.58%)
Amount raised from non-registered voters in the district: $64,851.00 (33.42%)

347 (67.12%) out of 517 contributors are registered voters in the district
170 (33.42%) out of 517 contributors are outside

Martha Wong

Amount raised during the reporting period: $98,838.72
Amount raised from registered voters in the district: $20,345 (20.57%)
Amount raised from non-registered voters in the district: $78,548.72 (79.43%)

174 (71.5%) out of 246 contributors are not registered voters in the district
72 (29.5%) out of 246 contributors are registered voters in the district

I certainly don't have any issue with candidates raising money from supporters outside their own districts. But if the level of contributions from one's own pool of voters is an indicator of how strong one's real support is, then it seems that Edwards and Cohen have the edge here.

- At the bottom of the spreadsheet, we see that two-time loser (in two different districts) Phil Sudan and Ben Streusand combined to pour about $7 million of their own money into their unsuccessful campaigns. Dave Phillips was in the same 2004 GOP primary for CD10, which surely ranks as the most lavishly financed Congressional primary in the state. I can't figure out why some of these people are still showing up in FEC reports. Mark Brewer was part of the cattle call for the CD07 GOP nomination in 2000. He got about 7% of the vote for his half-million bucks. The weirdest one to me is Greg Laughlin, who was the Democratic incumbent in CD14 before switching parties after his 1994 reelection. He was eventually ousted in a GOP primary runoff by Ron Paul in 1996, and as far as I can tell, that's the last time he's run for office. Why is he still in this report ten years later? I haven't got a clue.

Finally, BOR is tracking some other finance reports. And though it probably belongs in its own post, I'll close this one by pointing you to Chris Bell's TV ad, about which you can read more here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 18, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack