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Fundraising for the next city election cycle has begun

Whether you realized it or not.


Last year’s court ruling undoing Houston’s fundraising ban during non-election seasons means that the city’s contribution cycles reset immediately after last year’s general and runoff elections, according to the city, instead of in early spring.

As a result, unless a candidate is retiring old campaign debt, money raised post-election counts toward the contribution limits for the upcoming cycle, rather than the prior one, mayoral spokeswoman Janice Evans said. City rules cap contributions at $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for political action committees, per election cycle.


Previously, general election candidates could replenish their coffers until March 4, and runoff candidates could do so until April 4, with the contributions counting against the limits for the most recent election rather than the upcoming one.

Asked if the city sent any clarifying information to officeholders or candidates, Evans pointed to a letter included in packets given to candidates last year.

The memo stated that the city’s temporal fundraising restrictions were no longer in effect but did not specify when the election cycle began and ended.

“It’s going to have very little impact on what we do, except obviously we want to know what the rule is now,” [fundraising consultant Pat] Strong said.

See here and here for background on the lawsuit. Unless I’ve missed something, the suit is still awaiting trial; it was the granting of an injunction by the judge in the trial against the city enforcing its blackout period that led to where we are today. It was quite common in elections past for successful candidates to have post-election fundraisers, partly because it was their last chance to do so for the calendar year and partly because the usual suspects generally wanted to make sure that all the winners got at least a little something from them. No more “late train” fundraisers now – either hedge your bets before November or make sure you back the right horse in the first place. The key to all this are the boundaries of the election cycle. In the old days, you could donate up to the max in these post-election days, then start all over when the blackout period lifted, which marked the beginning of the next cycle. Now the new cycle begins right after Election Day, so there’s not much point to these post-victory events – whatever you donate then is how much less you can donate later. As the people quoted in the story say, it probably doesn’t matter that much from a candidate’s perspective. It just means the timing of when things happen will be adjusted. I’m sure everyone will get used to the new rule quickly.

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One Comment

  1. Joshua ben bullard says:

    I take great pleasure in knowing that i caused pat strong tens of thousands of dollars when I helped get Richard Nguyen voted out of office.almost as much pleasure than when I told her a year in advance It was going to happen.we should tread slowly and with great caution when people classify pat strong as a “fundraising expert”,enjoy Joshua Ben bullard