October 08, 2008
Harris County campaign finance reports, 30 days out

I will try to put together a report on the Harris countywide races, time permitting. Here for now is an accounting of the more interesting legislative races:

Dist Candidate July COH Raised Current COH
129 Matula 73,153 125,824 136,934
129 Davis 66,915 46,563 62,046
133 Thibaut 94,078 86,065 102,982
133 Murphy 171,797 87,401 169,294
134 Cohen 231,337 70,469 216,670
134 Agris 2,614 4,875 463
138 McDavid 18,584 38,400 18,632
138 Bohac 135,569 52,651 124,106
144 Redmond 87,206 137,045 90,446
144 Legler 0 44,720 14,276
149 Vo 44,440 97,621 54,233
149 Meyers 26,795 105,757 37,070

11 Jaworski 410,390 135,418 101,018
11 Jackson 1,210,257 134,480 1,205,115
17 Bell 658,428 457,750
17 Simmons 47,500 47,500
17 Harpold 44,078 27,252
17 Huffman 97,017 1,605
17 Furse 145,550 371,045

"July COH" refers to the cash on hand total from the July 15 report. I skipped that for the SD17 contenders, since not all of them were actually in the race then. The other columns refer to how much they raised since then, and what their current cash on hand totals are.

Going through the House numbers, I included the 134 totals for grins, and because I don't think I've quite finished whipping that deceased equestrian. But I admit I'm getting close. While Ginny McDavid hasn't quite kept up with her colleagues in HDs 129, and 133, and 144, she's done a respectable job considering how overlooked she's been. Kristi Thibaut has kept pace in each period with Jim Murphy; the cash on hand difference is basically due to Murphy having $80K in the kitty as of January.

If you aren't blown away by the Democratic dominance in HDs 129 and 144, you should be. Sherrie Matula and Joel Redmond basically tripled their Republican counterparts, and that's with them being beneficiaries of that Karl Rove fundraiser. Matula in particular, running against an incumbent in a district that wasn't thought to be competitive last cycle, has truly excelled. If these are leading indicators for November, Harris County Democrats will have a lot to celebrate.

The dark cloud is in HD149, where Greg Meyers outraised incumbent Hubert Vo this period. Vo has the cash on hand lead, and the ability to write himself a check as needed, but this should be a wakeup call. I believe Vo will prevail, but this race is a lot tighter than it should be. Unfortunately, Vo has himself and his apartments to blame for this.

On the Senate side, Mike Jackson started out with a huge cash advantage, and he maintains a huge cash advantage. Sometimes, though, that can be too much of a good thing. Joe Jaworski's diminished bank balance from July is due to his spending over $300K in this period, with a lot of it going into TV ads - he told me he's been on the air continuously, with the exception of the two weeks around Hurricane Ike, since August. Jackson spent a tiny bit more than he raised, and would have to run five-minute spots during "Dancing With The Stars" to make full use of his coffers. Far as I know, at least as of the end of September, he wasn't on the air. I've no idea what he has in mind.

As noted before, Chris Bell has been the 800 pound gorilla, with nearly triple the haul of his four top rivals combined. (There's another Republican in the race, whose name escapes me; I seriously doubt he's a factor.) Austen Furse, who has been in the race the longest, had $323K on hand in July, which included a $200K loan. He's spent $90K since then (Bell has spent $200K) and still shows that loan on the books, as the majority of his cash on hand.

I can't make head or tail of Huffman's report. According to her report, she's spent a staggering $1.6 million, but most of that - $1.25 million, according to the detailed report - was repayment of two loans, a $500K bank loan, and $750K as "Loan as itemized on SPAC Texans for Joan Huffman". I didn't find a report for that PAC, though, so I don't know if it just isn't published yet (some other reports were not available as I wrote this) or if I'm just missing something. If you can help me understand all this, drop me a note and let's talk.

Finally, there's Stephanie Simmons, the alleged Democrat who filed at the last minute. Her detailed report shows a total of four donors: $30K from Ron Wilson (plus a $7K loan for legal services); $2500 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC; $10K from Jeff Sandefer, who is an Austin developer and board member of the Texas Public Policy Foundation; and $5K from a Preston Marshall, about whom I know nothing because Google kept directing me to pages for the late former Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. All I can say is that if that's the donor profile of a for-real Democratic candidate, I'm John Riggins.

So that's what I know at this point. Let me know what you think.

UPDATE: OK, this doesn't actually have anything to do with finance reports, but I'm putting it here anyway. Remember how I mentioned the local debate schedule and pointed to the Red, White, and Blue webpage because they had a bunch of them queued up? Well, today was supposed to be taping day for a debate between Joe Jaworski and Mike Jackson, to be aired on Friday. Except that Jackson never bothered to show. Can't wait to see how that plays out.

UPDATE: Here's the link for the Texans for Joan Huffman PAC, which is where the action is for her. She reports $131K in donations and an impressive $876K on hand for the PAC, of which $750K is a loan. According to a press release from her campaign, she has raised $405K since announcing her candidacy. So there we have it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 08, 2008 to Election 2008

A couple points on Huffman, because I've been as befuddled as you.

It looks like she's been moving around an awful lot of her own money in and out of various PACs. You found her individual page, the page for Texans for Joan Huffman is here:

There's another one that hasn't had any action yet:
Huffman PAC for Educators

Not for nothing, Janek has a PAC set up to attack Bell:
Best for Texas PAC
found here:

And Tommy Williams has a PAC for his fellow senators - not sure if he's sitting this race out, but he's spending on Brimer and Jackson:
Twenty One Pac

Not sure if this is helpful at all, but I thought I'd pass on what I was able to find.

Note on Preston:
I don't know who he is, but he's dropped coin on Nathan Macias, Al Edwards and Aaron Pena this year - so that should give you an idea of his political allegiances *cough* CRADDICK *cough*

Posted by: joe on October 8, 2008 9:51 PM
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