Looks like some of the external fundraising that the Killer D’s/Texas 11 did has borne some fruit.
Since the redistricting fight erupted last spring, 13 of the 17 Texas Democrats in Congress have donated more than $230,000 to the state Democratic Party and a political fund dedicated to re-electing state lawmakers.
Some of the funds have been used to rally public opposition to the redistricting effort, party leaders said, while much of it has been set aside to help re-elect Democrats in the Texas House who managed to delay the process by hiding out in Oklahoma.
“Some of those members put their political lives on the line,” said Rep. Gene Green of Houston, who has given $15,000 to the state party this summer and another $25,000 to the Majority Political Action Committee of Texas, or MPACT, formed this year to re-elect Democrats to the Texas House.
“I think all of us have realized that if you’re going to be in the battle, you have to be there with everything you can. So sure, we talked with each other and said, ‘We need to help these folks,’ ” he said.
Quarterly financial reports filed by last week show that 13 of the state’s 17 incumbent Democrats donated a total of $141,000 from their campaign funds to the state Democratic Party, ranging from $5,000 from Reps. Nick Lampson of Beaumont and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston to $50,000 from Rep. Martin Frost of Arlington, dean of the delegation.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that Martin’s been a supporter of the Texas Democratic Party for at least the 25 years he’s been in Congress,” said spokesman Jess Fassler.
The reports also show that nine of the Democrats sent checks totaling $91,200 to MPACT, formed this year as a counterbalance to various GOP political action committees. The bulk came from three congressmen who each gave $25,000: Mr. Green, Chet Edwards of Waco and Rubén Hinojosa of Mercedes.
Most of the incumbents have also put up $5,000 to $20,000 each for legal fees, and that is expected the grow. The last big legal fight over the state’s congressional districts cost Democrats about $1.7 million.
State Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco, chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the Texas House, said the congressional money has been vital to get the MPACT up and running, but the committee has raised “considerably more” at events last weekend in Maine and fund-raisers in Colorado, Austin, Dallas and elsewhere.
“We’re trying to save money and use it to help re-elect Democrats next year,” Mr. Dunnam said, adding that the donations show the solidarity forged this year among Democrats in Congress and the Legislature.
“We really are in the same boat together. We fight for the same things, we just do it different places. Too much in the past the delegations have sort of not paid much attention to one another, and that’s one thing we were able to change this year,” he said. “Frankly it took Tom DeLay to get us unified.”
Can I just say, “About damn time!” I frequently hear Republicans talk about how Democrats in Texas need to adjust to being the minority party and out of power. Well, this is a part of that. The majority party, the party that controls all levels of state government and enjoys a big lead in voter registrations, can afford to be lazy about things like this (not that the Republican Party has, which is a big part of the reason why they’ve become the majority party and will be tough to dislodge), but as someone once said, when you’re #2 you need to try harder. That message finally seems to be sinking in, and not a moment too soon.
Now if we could only get all of the Houston-area incumbents to send a few bucks back to the Harris County Democratic Party, then we’d really be on to something.