April 15, 2009
White rakes it in for his Senate bid

Among other things, today is the deadline for federal candidates to report their campaign finance status. Of the many contenders for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat, whenever that becomes available, I think it's safe to say that Bill White had the best start to the year. From his press release:

Mayor Bill White reported contributions totaling more than $2.6 million in just over 100 days since launching his U.S. Senate campaign, according to a report filed with the Federal Elections Commission today.

More than 1,400 Texans contributed through March 31st, the end of the filing period. The contributions for the filing period totaled more than $1.8 million.

Campaign Finance Chair Scott Atlas said, "The outpouring of support from donors and volunteers has been simply amazing. The energy around Mayor White's campaign shows Texans believe in his ability to bring people together and get things done. People want their next senator to be a voice for our state's future."

So far, none of the Senate incumbents or hopefuls have their reports up on the FEC disclosure page, so I can't give you the details yet. However, Gardner Selby has some information.

Democrat John Sharp topped five other candidates or prospective candidates for the U.S. Senate in cash on hand as of March 31, though his camp didn't say this afternoon how much of the $2.4 million he piled up since Jan. 1 came from loans. His loan chunk--perhaps tapping Sharp's personal wealth--may be left to show up when his report, filed with the Federal Election Commission, surfaces online.

Another Democrat, Houston Mayor Bill White, had $2.1 million cash on hand at the end of this year's first quarter; he'd taken no loans.

Among Republicans, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams had $388,628 cash on hand; a haul fueled by $200,000 in loans he gave his exploratory committee. State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, had $310,407. She was trailed in her bank balance by two members of the Texas Railroad Commission, Elizabeth Ames Jones with $164,663 and Michael Williams with $113,957.

As Selby notes, we can't fully judge Sharp's total till we know how much of it was loaned by himself to the campaign. It's possible he did better than any of the Republicans and yet still fell well short of White, and it's possible he outraised White, though to be honest if he'd really taken in $2 million or so, I'd have expected him to be shouting that from the rooftops. We'll know soon enough. In any case, as BOR notes, the two Dems are way out in from of the Rs - heck, all of them put together can't match either Dem. That may change if a David Dewhurst or a Greg Abbott jumps in, but for now, it's a nice position for the Dems to be in.

Other reports of interest, all Congressional:

- Pete Sessions, who has been in the crosshairs of the DCCC lately and whose district is trending strongly Democratic, had a good quarter with over $200K raised and almost $900K on hand. Sessions has always been an able fundraiser, no doubt why he's chairing the NRCC this go-round.

- Mike McCaul doesn't have a report yet. He already has a well-heeled challenger and a DCCC bulls-eye on his back, but he's also filthy rich and will not be outgunned financially.

- John Culberson had a decent quarter, with $100K raised, though only a modest $70K on hand. He didn't leave anything in reserve after his expensive re-election fight last year, and though I think he's likely to skate this time around, I'll bet he invests some time in restocking his coffers.

- Sheila Jackson Lee didn't raise much, and spent more than she raised, but she starts the year with over $400K on hand, which may give pause to anyone looking to primary her.

- The benefits of running for President, having a national following, and being stalked by Borat not having an opponent in the last cycle: Ron Paul has over two million dollars on hand, despite raising almost nothing and spending nearly $250K.

- Randy Neugebauer in CD19 doesn't have a report up yet, either, but according to the CREW crew, he wants to use his campaign funds to pay for the use of his yacht to fundraise for his campaign. Just click over and see for yourself. The yacht is anchored in DC, in case you were wondering (as I was) what the heck one would do with a yacht in Lubbock.

- Former Congressman Jim Turner, who was drawn out of his seat in the 2004 Tom DeLay re-redistricting, still has over a million bucks on hand. Which in theory he eventually needs to dispose of in some fashion, either on another campaign of his own or by giving it to other candidates.

That's all for now. I'll add to this as I see more reports.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 15, 2009 to Election 2010

I've been asking this for about 3 days now, maybe you can answer it Kuff.

Why not Jim Turner for Governor? Guy seems to have the right profile and comes with a cool million on day one. He's definitely better than Kinky, more attractive on paper than Sen. Van de Putte, and has better progressive cred than Scheiffer.

Posted by: trowaman on April 16, 2009 3:20 AM

You'd have to ask him that yourself. I've not heard any indication that he wants to run for anything. There was a bit of speculation about him challenging Cornyn last year, mostly driven by the million bucks he has in the bank, but it went nowhere. So the short answer is I have no idea.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 16, 2009 5:22 AM

"Why not Jim Turner for Governor? Guy seems to have the right profile and comes with a cool million on day one. He's definitely better than Kinky, more attractive on paper than Sen. Van de Putte, and has better progressive cred than Scheiffer."

And don't forget he's a household name! Everyone in Texas knows he is.

The thought of a choice between Kinky Friedman and Rick Perry tends to make one wonder about the "end times" and possibly hope that the predictions are true.

As for Bill White the more money he raises the more questions are asked about who he's raising it from and about the deals being made again in the back rooms. Same cast of characters. Same checkbooks. Same old, same old.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on April 16, 2009 2:17 PM
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