National attention for our local rising star.
Democrats have been increasingly bullish about their ability to win over suburban, ancestrally Republican House districts that have been trending in their party's direction over the past decade.
But their party's latest target shows just how confident Democrats have become. Democrats are eyeing one of the most reliably Republican seats in the heart of Texas -- Rep. John Culberson's suburban Houston district, once held by President Bush's father -- and have a candidate who is causing a stir due to his prolific fundraising.
Businessman Michael Skelly is positioned to be at the top of the Democratic fundraising list for the year's first quarter, according to a Democratic operative, raising about $750,000 from individual donors without even tapping into his substantial personal wealth. Another Democratic operative said it could be the "best first quarter ever" for any House Democrat in his first filing period.
Skelly has already handily outdistanced Culberson in fundraising -- rare for a challenger -- banking more than $402,000 in mid-February, according to his latest FEC filing.
"He actually likes to fundraise," said Skelly's campaign manager, Bill Kelly. "He's more than willing to do his part, and he's going to put in a substantial amount of his own money. But he's already done the hard part."
By contrast, Culberson reported only $82,200 in his campaign account in mid-February but claims to have worked over the past month to quickly refill his coffers. Culberson estimated he raised $250,000 in the past 45 days -- largely in response to Skelly's strong early fundraising and his ability to self-fund.