We know Rep. Nick Lampson is one of the top targets for the GOP in 2008. The good news is that Lampson is off to a good start in fundraising.
U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson has raised twice as much as his only official competitor for the congressional District 22 seat, according to campaign finance reports due Friday.
Lampson raised $288,000 during the second quarter of the year. He has $441,000 cash on hand.
Lampson, D-Stafford, will be up for re-election in 2008. His campaign said his contributions exceeded expectations, especially because Lampson spent half of the last quarter recovering from quadruple-bypass heart surgery.
"Nick has been a strong and independent voice for the people of TX-22," his campaign spokesman Steven Snodgrass said. "Given the campaign's solid progress and his bipartisan voting record, Congressman Lampson is in great shape for 2008."
Former Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is the only one who has declared her candidacy and raised a significant amount of money.
Sekula-Gibbs won last fall's special election to fill the remaining two months of DeLay's term. She fell short, however, in her write-in candidacy against Lampson for the full term.
She raised $137,000 during the last quarter and has more than $180,000 in her campaign account.
"Our fundraising is just starting and will continue to grow," Sekula-Gibbs said in a written statement, noting contributions from Houston home builder Bob Perry, among others.
"Supporters are starting to line up behind our race to take back TX-22 because they realize it will take a team effort to beat Nick Lampson in 2008."
Family Court Judge James Squier said Friday he planned to run. Squier, who turns 61 next week and has been a judge for more than 20 years, said he was looking for a new opportunity to serve. He does not live in the district, but did for nearly 30 years.
Former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek formed an exploratory committee last month and said Friday he will make an announcement about his intentions in August.
State Rep. Robert Talton of Pasadena also is looking at the seat, as is Pete Olson, the former chief of staff for U.S. Sen John Cornyn.
Cornyn, a Republican, reported that he raised $2 million in the second quarter of this year and had $5.3 million cash on hand.
One of his potential Democratic opponents -- attorney Mikal Watts of San Antonio -- launched his campaign by putting $3.8 million of his own money into his campaign account to match Cornyn's cash on hand at the end of the first quarter.
Cornyn's aides declined to comment, saying the report spoke for itself.
During June, Watts raised another $1.1 million. Watts ended the quarter with $4.8 million in cash on hand.
If he wins the Democratic nomination, Watts has pledged to spend another $6.8 million of his own money against Cornyn.
While on the surface it might look like Cornyn raised more money than Watts, Cornyn's fundraising occurred between April 1 and June 30. Watts' fundraising for his Senate race exploratory committee was just in the month of June.
State Rep. Rick Noriega, D-Houston, is expected on Monday to formally create an exploratory committee for the race. He had been going to do it on Thursday but delayed because of the death of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson. Noriega will not have to report any financial activity until September.