July 15, 2008
Some fundraising numbers

A sample of fundraising numbers for the second quarter, based on press releases received:

- From Larry Joe Doherty in CD10:

Larry Joe Doherty, Democratic nominee in the 10th Congressional District, will report receiving over $247,000 in campaign contributions from 520 individuals since March 31st, more than doubling his cash-on-hand from the previous reporting period to $259,792.

"During these tough economic times of skyrocketing gas, diesel and food prices, the strong support our campaign is finding shows that the people are determined to hold Washington accountable," stated Doherty.

Highlighting Republican incumbent Michael McCaul's vulnerability, The Cook Political Report, an independent and non-partisan analysis group, recently upgraded the competitiveness of TX-10 from "safe Republican" to "likely Republican." The Southern Political Report also identifies Doherty's challenge as one of only 12 Republican-held Congressional seats being competitively challenged in the South, and the only race in Texas.

Cook upgraded TX-07 as well, which is great. That one I expect is more about Michael Skelly's fundraising prowess, with this one being more about a purpler district. Either way, it's great to see two Texas races get that treatment.

- From Joe Jaworski in SD11:

With the intensity continuing to grow behind his campaign and internal poll numbers showing a dead-even race against the 20-year incumbent, Texas Senate candidate Joe Jaworski today said that he will report raising more than $801,000 from 1,267 individual contributors in his race thus far, capping another successful fundraising period.

"More and more Texans are eager to invest in a new day and a new direction," Jaworski said. "Too many challenges are going unmet, and voters know that more of the same isn't good enough."

Jaworski will report a total of $801,218 raised to date, including $345,209.50 during the first six months of this year. His latest report shows more than $410,390 cash on hand after winning his primary race in March.

Jaworski's internal polling reveals that his opponent is in a vulnerable position with just 16 weeks to go until the November 4 election. Fewer than one-third of voters in SD 11 approve of the incumbent's job performance, citing among other reasons his multiple votes for term limits for everyone but himself. With insurance rates, utility costs, air pollution, and college tuition all on the rise, the momentum for positive change is mounting. As a result, the race is statistically tied -- 48 percent to 44 percent -- with Jaworski commanding a margin of more than 20 percent among independent voters, a critical component of the electorate this year.

He has a better case for the "statistically tied" statement than some other pollsters in some other races I could name, but I'd still call Mike Jackson in the lead. A small lead, and Jaworski is in a good position to overtake him, but he's in front by a little bit. For now, anyway.

- From the TexBlog PAC-endorsed Chris Turner in HD96:

When we file our campaign finance report with the Texas Ethics Commission tomorrow, we will report having raised over $200,000 in the first six months of this year!

Very nice for a State House race. Lots of action in Tarrant County this year.

- From Sandr VuLe, running for HD112 up in Richardson:

A veteran family advocate and community lawyer whose personal story includes fleeing from Vietnam as a young girl and obtaining a quality education in American public schools, VuLe's financial report for the first six months of the year will show an approximate total of $53,426 in regular and in-kind contributions, including a $10,000 loan from herself. She has marshaled her resources with an efficient campaign, as evidenced by her $76,847.71 cash on hand. She has raised around $95,400 since her campaign began, including in-kind contributions and $20,000 in personal loans.

Not bad for a race that isn't on the radar as much as some others. Democrats didn't field a candidate in this district in 2006 against the retiring Rep. Fred Hill; in the two previous elections, the best showing was 35% in 2004. But as with the rest of Dallas County, it's trending blue, though it has farther to go than some other areas - Bill Moody got 41.8% in 2006. With Hill being an anti-Craddickite, this is a seat both parties would really like to have.

And what may be my favorite paragraph in any press release I've received lately:

In addition to VuLe [who is a native of Vietnam], the other candidates in the race include Angie Chen Button, a native of China, and Philip White, who was born in the Ukraine.

Ain't that America?

- No press release, but I'm told via email that Rep. Hubert Vo will report raising around $100,000 for the six-month period. That email came with a pointer to the finance report (PDF) of his opponent, Greg Meyers, who raised $57,000 and has about $27,000 on hand. Meyers spent over $26,000 of his cash on The Patriot Group, a newish outfit that's a who's who of connected Republicans. I figure Meyers will get a fair amount of cash later in the game for attack mailers, so don't rely too much on the current state of the money figures.

- From Diane Trautman, running for Harris County Tax Assessor:

In a clear signal that Harris County residents are ready for a change at the Tax office, Diane Trautman has raised $150,081 in her race for Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and has $94,420 cash on hand as of the end of the reporting period on June 30, 2008.

"I am overwhelmed by the commitment from Harris County citizens to bring ethical leadership to county government, by giving so generously to my campaign. Each week more supporters join the fight to bring accountable, accessible and authentic leadership to Harris County," said Trautman.

From February 24, 2008 to June 30, 2008, Trautman raised a total of $68,732. When he was up for reelection in 2004, her opponent, Paul Bettencourt, raised a total of $1,000 in the first 6 months of that year.

That's a slightly unfair comparison, since Bettencourt was running against a marginal candidate in a clearly Republican year. But as neither of those things are the case this year, he's under pressure in a way he's not had to deal with before. Let's see how he responds.

(UPDATE: Houston Politics has the answer: Bettencourt raised $66K, about half of Trautman's haul.)

And finally, this Chron story talks about the cash-on-hand gap between Rick Noriega and Sen. John Cornyn. The most important bit is this:

The most immediate need for Noriega's campaign is to raise several million dollars in the next two months.

"Clearly, he's got to raise some money," said 2002 Democratic Senate nominee Ron Kirk, who is hosting a fundraiser this week with Dallas financier Jess Hay. "This, at least, is our effort to get him in front of an audience and a pretty good-size audience of people that we believe -- if they can see him, hear him -- they'll get a sense of the excitement we feel, and maybe that will loosen up the purse strings."

Noriega has been very successful raising money online; he's pulled in over a million dollars on ActBlue, making him the top non-Presidential recipient in ActBlue's history. The grassroots folks have done what they said they would. The traditional donors and fundraisers, not so much. If anything is going to change about the dynamic of this race, that's where it's got to happen.

UPDATE: A followup release from Chris Turner puts his exact figure at $240K, and says it's far more than his opponent, Rep. Bill Zedler, has ever raised. And State Rep. Juan Garcia puts in his bid for top fundraiser:

State Rep. Juan Garcia's campaign said it has $520,000 on hand with four months to go until the general election and Todd Hunter's campaign manager said Hunter has raised $307,000. The campaign manager did not say how much cash the campaign has on hand, but said Hunter has contributed about $70,000 to himself, in addition to the $307,000.

Garcia's campaign did not immediately disclose what it has raised for the campaign finance period covering Jan. 1 to June 30,

Those figures, while not immediately comparable, likely will shatter estimates of what the campaign will cost. Political observers had previously estimated that the race would cost $1 million.

That's a lot of money for one legislative race.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 15, 2008 to Election 2008
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