October 2023 campaign finance reports – Senate

As was the case with the July reports, we have a lot more candidates now than we had three months ago, or six months ago in April. In fact, we now have so many people running for Senate, and filing actual campaign reports, that I’ve decided for now to split the Senate reports from the Congress reports. Let’s get to it.

Colin Allred – Senate
Roland Gutierrez – Senate
Carl Sherman – Senate
Thierry Tchenko – Senate
Heli Rodriguez-Prilliman – Senate
Steve Keough – Senate
Tracy Andrus – Senate
Meri Lizet Gomez – Senate

Dist  Name             Raised      Spent    Loans    On Hand
Sen   Allred       13,561,666  5,641,682        0  7,919,983
Sen   Gutierrez       632,359    252,482   56,432    379,877
Sen   Sherman          82,775     11,960        0     70,814
Sen   Tchenko          82,686     45,379        0     32,306
Sen   R-Prilliman      28,087     26,578   24,803      1,508
Sen   Keough           24,802     18,017    6,050      6,785
Sen   Andrus           18,260      9,038        0      8,836
Sen   Gomez            11,044     11,000        0         44

I think we need to start with this.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, raised about $630,000 in the first months of his U.S. Senate campaign, according to a campaign finance report covering July through September.

He’s one of eight Democrats running for his party’s nomination to take on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2024, along with U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a three-term congressman from Dallas who brought in $4.7 million in the same span.

Gutierrez reported having about $380,000 on hand as of Sept. 30, while Allred had $7.9 million.

Filing for the March 5 primary opens Nov. 11 and closes Dec. 11.


While Allred’s congressional district includes some of the wealthiest zip codes in the state, Gutierrez represents a state Senate district that encompasses some of its most economically disadvantaged parts.

Gutierrez’s allies characterize his campaign message as “more agitational than aspirational” as he seeks to highlight how the state’s Republican leadership has left rural Texas behind.

From his perspective in the state Senate, Gutierrez has blasted GOP leaders for prioritizing issues like border security and private school vouchers over access to health care and public school funding. Those decisions combined with Texas’ lax gun laws, Gutierrez says, created an environment that led to the massacre at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary.

Uvalde is in Gutierrez’s district, and he’s dedicated significant energy to hunting down answers about what happened that day, as well as probing law enforcement’s response.

“I made a decision to run for the United States Senate because I was a little angry, and I’m still a little angry,” Gutierrez told a gathering of the Bexar County Young Democrats at the Friendly Spot in August. “It might not be the right reason to run for something, but it’s why I’m running.

While the audience seemed to appreciate that sentiment, plenty of Democrats who like Gutierrez still question why he would enter a race against Allred, even before the most recent fundraising reports. Gutierrez launched his campaign on July 10, after Allred had already started campaigning and raising big money.

One audience member at the Friendly Spot asked Gutierrez what his supporters should say when they’re out door-knocking and encounter people who are already supporting Allred.

“A lot of the attention right now is on your opponent,” the woman said. “If [we’re] trying to flip them, what can they say?”

Gutierrez replied that a competitive primary is good for Democrats, to sharpen the candidates and raise awareness about their priorities. He advised the woman that he’s the “more progressive candidate” in the race, but added that he had no plans to attack Allred, a former NFL player and Baylor football standout who ousted a Republican incumbent to win his seat in 2018.

“He’s a nice fella. He’s spent a lot of money, a lot more money than we did. … I know he’s getting more media than I am, and we do our fair share,” Gutierrez said of Allred. “… But I’m not going to start a fight with him.”

I will admit, I’d have thought Sen. Gutierrez would have raised more than this. Whoever the nominee is will be able to count on both a better statewide network for fundraising as well as some national money, though maybe not from the DSCC. You still want to get off to a running start, and I’d call this more of a modest trot. Gutierrez has fire in his belly, a signature issue, and plenty of news coverage, all of which will help. I’d still like to see him hit seven figures for the January report.

There are two names of interest missing here. One is now-former Nueces County DA Mark Gonzalez, who resigned in September to enter this race. He would have had about three weeks to fundraise, and it’s possible he decided to wait till October to start with that so as not to post a relatively tiny sum for this report. Or maybe he’s just a late filer. I don’t know. I don’t see anything in the news to suggest that he changed his mind about running, so I assume we’ll see his numbers in January. The other is former Midland City Council member and 2020 Senate candidate John Love, who was in the race before Colin Allred was. It appears he has taken his talents to CD06, which his campaing website now reflects. I’ll report on him when I look at the Congressional candidates.

The other recent entrant into the race is State Rep. Carl Sherman, who did post numbers for this period even as he had slightly less time than Mark Gonzalez to collect cash. As an incumbent legislator, he may have been better prepared to ramp it up, but even so you can see what two and a half weeks of that can get you. As with Gonzalez, we’ll see what he has to show in January.

Not much to say about Colin Allred, is there? He’s knocking it out of the park. Keep doing what you’re doing, dude.

Finally, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Thierry Tchenko the other day. Good guy, running for good reasons and with a high level of energy. I enjoyed meeting him. He’s still going to have all of the challenges that someone running statewide with that balance sheet will have, but he was clear-eyed about it. That’s all I can ask.

I’ll report on the Congressional candidates next. Let me know what you think.

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