On enthusiasm and fundraising

RG Ratcliffe engages the “can Lupe Valdez be competitive” question.

Lupe Valdez

Valdez will almost certainly lose to Greg Abbott in November. Yet if she inspires Hispanic voters to turn out, she could help Democratic candidates in tight down-ballot races and make a big difference in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Texas House.

That scenario assumes that Valdez can significantly increase Hispanic turnout. But not everyone is certain she can. “I see the value of having Lupe Valdez running for governor,” [Julian] Castro said at the Blue Star pub. “She’s a great candidate, and her experience as Dallas County sheriff, her life experience, and the issues that she is addressing speak to a lot of Texans. Whether having her at the top of the ticket would impact the Latino vote . . . that’s hard to tell.”

Valdez, after all, has significant deficiencies as a candidate. She’s unpolished as a speaker and has demonstrated little command of statewide issues. She’s also underfunded—her latest campaign finance report showed she had a little more than $115,000 cash on hand, compared to Abbott’s $43 million. That has forced her to forgo campaign fundamentals such as an internal vetting process, in which the campaign looks for skeletons in its own candidate’s closet. Two days after Valdez won the Democratic runoff, for example, the Houston Chronicle revealed that she owed more than $12,000 in unpaid property taxes. A vetting would have prepared her better to respond when a Chronicle reporter asked about it; instead, a campaign spokesman tried to blame Abbott for allowing property taxes to rise.

In short, Valdez may not be the transformational figure many Democrats hope for. In the March 6 primary, Democrats turned out a million voters—their best primary showing since 1994—30 percent of whom had Hispanic surnames. But that high turnout seems to have been in spite of Valdez’s presence on the ballot. In several South Texas counties, thousands of voters cast ballots in the U.S. Senate contest and various local races but skipped voting for governor entirely. In Hidalgo County, Valdez failed to capture even half the voters with Hispanic surnames. One prominent South Texas Democrat told me that when Valdez campaigned in the area, her lack of knowledge of state issues turned off a lot of local voters. “We’re not blind,” he said. He also admitted that many conservative Hispanics just would not vote for a lesbian.


At her Blue Star Brewing event, Valdez turned the sanctuary cities bill into a major talking point, emphasizing her belief that Republicans only control Texas because many people—especially Hispanics—don’t vote. “Texas is not a red state,” Valdez intoned. “It’s a nonvoting state.”

Perhaps. But this is still Texas; even if Valdez manages to help a few of her Democratic colleagues, that doesn’t mean she’ll be able to help herself. There was tremendous enthusiasm for Wendy Davis four years ago too, and she was crushed by Greg Abbott by 20 points. Democratic enthusiasm this election cycle is, arguably, even greater, thanks to anti-Trump fervor. But to capitalize on that, Valdez will have to pull off something that no other Democrat has done: awaken the sleeping giant of Hispanic voters. And right now the giant seems content to catch a few more z’s.

Ratcliffe spends some time discussing the three highest-profile Congressional races and their effect, which I appreciate. There’s been too much coverage of the Governor’s race that seems to think it exists in a vacuum. It was Ratcliffe’s mention of enthusiasm levels that caught my eye, though. While he acknowledges that enthusiasm is high this year, which anyone who can read a poll knows, he cites 2014 as an example of high enthusiasm not translating to good results. I admit that’s something I worry about as well, but I can think of three factors that make this year different:

1. I feel like the enthusiasm in 2014 peaked when Davis announced her candidacy, with a bounce when Leticia Van de Putte followed suit, but trended steadily downhill after that, while this year enthusiasm has remained high and if anything has intensified. Maybe peak 2014 compares favorably to 2018, but I’d be willing to bet that June 2018 is well ahead of where June 2014 was.

2. There are a number of reasons why enthusiasm trended downward in 2014, including gripes about how Davis ran her campaign – remember when she said she favored open carry? – and concerns about just what the hell Battleground Texas was doing. I don’t think you can underestimate the effect the national atmosphere had on the enthusiasm level here, though. Say what you want about Davis and her campaign, she was far from alone in underperforming that year, and the national mood, which was strongly in the Republicans’ favor, was a big part of that. That’s just not the case this year, and it’s something I continue to believe that the pundit class here has not grappled with.

3. I’ll get into this more in a minute, but the full top-to-bottom slate of candidates that are working hard and raising money has an effect that we haven’t figured out how to quantify yet, too. The number of spirited Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents, in places both traditional and pioneering, is much greater this year.

I’m not arguing that the political world as we know it is about to be turned upside down. It may well be that Texas Republicans are better engaged than Republicans elsewhere, or that Democratic enthusiasm is overstated, or that Democratic weaknesses in organization and infrastructure will limit the potential gains from the positive factors that we have. We could look back on this in December and wonder what we were thinking. I’m willing to stand by the assertion that conditions are different now than they were four years ago and in ways that tend to favor Democrats. Beyond that, we’ll see.

On a related note:

Fundraising can be a reliable indicator of support for a candidate, and Valdez has struggled to raise money. Some analysts say she’ll need to raise $10 million to compete against Abbott in the general election. At last report in May, she had $115,000 on hand.

O’Rourke has raised $13 million from small-dollar donors, which worries Republicans because he’ll be able to go back to those people for more. He may also share those donors with other Democrats in the future.

Valdez, lieutenant governor candidate Mike Collier and other statewide candidates’ fundraising efforts, though, have paled in comparison. Collier warned that raising money for statewide races alone does not guarantee success.

Democrats watched gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis raise tons of money in 2014 but fail to turn out voters. This election year, there was a concerted effort to field more candidates even in tough red areas. That way dozens of candidates will be using money to turn out Democrats instead of just hoping the top of the ticket will take care of everything.

“It has to come from the bottom up,” said Collier. “It can’t be top down.”

For what it’s worth, Wendy Davis had raised about $13 million across three campaign accounts as of the June 2014 finance report. Beto had raised $13 million as of April, though to be fair he had been running for Senate longer than Davis had been running for Governor by then. I expect he’ll have a few million more when the June quarterly report hits. Beyond Davis in 2014, Leticia Van de Putte had raised $1.2 million as of June, but the well got empty pretty quickly after that. Whatever Lupe Valdez and Mike Collier and the other statewides do – I’ll bet Justin Nelson has a decent report – I think we can conclude that Beto and crew will have raised more as of June than Davis and VdP and their squad.

But of course there’s more to it than that. I keep coming back to the Congressional fundraising because it really is so completely different than what we have seen before. Here are the final reports from the 2014 cycle. Pete Gallego raised $2.6 million in his unsuccessful defense of CD23, Wesley Reed raised $300K for CD27, and no one else in a potentially competitive race broke the $100K mark. As of this April, three Democratic Congressional challengers – Lizzie Fletcher, Joseph Kopser, Gina Ortiz Jones – had surpassed $1 million, with Colin Allred right behind them. Todd Litton and MJ Hegar are well on their way to $1 million. Dayna Steele and Jana Sanchez should break $500K. Sri Kulkarni and Lorie Burch are past $100K, with Julie Oliver and Mike Siegel not far off. At this level, it’s not even close, and that’s before we factor in outside money like the DCCC. And we haven’t even touched on legislative or county races.

Now of course Republicans are going to raise a bunch of money, too. Greg Abbott by himself probably has more cash on hand than what all these people will raise combined. What I’m saying, again, is that Dems are in a better position than they were in 2014, and that you shouldn’t focus on the Governor’s race to the exclusion of everything else. It would be nice if Lupe could raise more money. Maybe she’ll surprise us on her June report. Nonetheless, Dems just aren’t as dependent on one statewide candidate raising money as they were four years ago.

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33 Responses to On enthusiasm and fundraising

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    While it was Democrat v Democrat, how much did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raise?

    There is more than money involved especially this year. If the Russian puppet keeps doing Putin’s will on tariffs, we may be starting a recession by election day. That ain’t good, but it is really bad for the Russian loving Racist Rabbits.

    Heck even Rafael Cruz can smell the manure, when he tells people not to vote for a Republican, but to vote for the Democrat.


  2. Manny Barrera says:

    Oh, very good article.

  3. Manny, are you hoping for a recession?

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul are you hoping for a miracle? Why do you troll when you know I only play games when I want to?

    Besides I will no longer refer to Trump as the Russian puppet, he is a Muppet. Putin has his hand so far up Trump’s arse that his hand is moving Trump’s lips.

    So your question is Putin planning a recession? I don’t know, ask Putin.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul if you quit going only to far way crazy right wing sites, you would know that I didn’t bring it up, your people did, the ones that hate brown folks


  6. Jules says:


    Even Abbott is crying over Trump’s tariffs. Is Abbott hoping for a recession? Or is he just hoping for Trump to mean tweet about him?

  7. Manny do you think all white straight males who voted for trump hate “brown folks” as you say.

  8. Manny Barrera says:

    Studies show that most of them do, there is one rule that always applies. There are exceptions, but they are the exceptions not the rule.

    They hate legal and illegal immigrants. Well hate may be the wrong word, they are scared because their world is changing and they can’t adjust, so they believe all the bs that people like Trump and Bill Daniels (Not his real name) put out. We are being invaded, they are infesting, they breed like rabbits, anchor babies, MS-13 taking over towns.

    Not all of them are straight males and they are not all males, you have the Log Cabin Republicans, for instance.

    Paul the “Deep State” may not allow Trump too much room or time to F with their world trades and making money. That is one thing that Trump gets right there is a Deep State but it ain’t what he thinks.

  9. “Studies show” which studies show such a thing?

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul you believe your president, you have stated as much and he never points to study. Fact is he lies all the time.

    Will it make a difference as to how you vote? If I point to the study or studies?

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt





    I don’t expect any change from you Paul, you are trolling try to prove me wrong or hoping that I can’t come up with studies.

    No ask yourself why you don’t require the same from the Russian muppet? Is it because you have the same opinion about dark skin folks?

  11. Manny Barrera says:

    Now ask yourself

  12. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul do you know that there were “Mexicans” in Fort Bend County before people from Europe came? Them there were Texmex folks.

  13. Manny,

    I gotta tell you after clicking on all of those links I am starting to feel guilty about eating Tex-Mex. I feel like I am betraying all White people. Next time I am at the straight white guy meeting I will confess my sins. I am just glad that Mexicans don’t hate White people as much as you do. You and the Klan have much in common.

  14. Manny,

    As to the Fort Bend County comment I don’t know the history of the that County. However, I am pretty sure that the Europeans (Spaniards) were here long before the Country of Mexico was formed. Have you the DNA test yet? How much of your DNA is from the Iberian Peninsula?

  15. Manny Barrera says:

    Not in Texas Paul, I guess you are not from Texas, I think Texas History is still required reading. So Mexico is European Paul, you really have a lot of reading to do if you care to educate yourself before making such statements.

    There you go again Paul into I must be hating white people, why so much guilt Paul, are you afraid to admit to yourself the Trump is a racist? The majority of Amercians agree that Trump is a racist. Do you know anything about your grandfather and grandmother, where were they from. Did they come to Texas and when? Where their parents from? Where did the name Kubosh come from?

    But then again your comments about Texmex food tells me a ton about you. Now I know you came to troll and will keep that in mind when you come with stupid questions.

    Before the Spaniards there were indigenous people here. The Spaniards did not bring their women for the most part, they either married or formed unions with those Native Americans. That is why people that look like me have so much Native American blood. In fact if you add the parts I am more European, Iberian and Mediterranean, translated Portugal, Spain, Roman, Greek. But to you I look “Mexican”.

    The other thing that the Spaniards didn’t do is to slaughter the Native Americans the way the “Christian” Protestants did. You really need to read your history Paul. No wonder you support the manure that sits in the White House.

  16. Manny Barrera says:

    Yes Paul, I know where my ancestors came from because I did do a DNA test. My family has been in what is now Texas since the 1600s.

  17. Manny Barrera says:

    Before the courts ordered HISD to integrate, “Mexicans” were not considered white, when they had to integrate all of a sudden the “Mexicans” became white and were integrated with the other people of color. How convenient that people like you want us as white when it suits you, but not other times.

    May want to catch up the history of Houston while you are at it.

    I will not spend anymore time educating you, you can to the library or take some of those Mexican-American classes that Texas offers.

  18. Paul Kubosh says:


    A Mexican is a citizen of Mexico. If a person is not from Mexico they are not Mexican. All people who speak Spanish are not Mexicans. The Spanish we’re conquering murders. Before the Europeans came to what we now call Mexico there were other indigenous people like the Aztecs. Genetically the way I understand it your DNA is not identified as Mexican. It is Native American, Iberian peninsular etc. You make my head hurt.

    So let me be as Racist as I can be. As a nation I think we should have as many hard working, Roman Catholics as we can get. I think we are a better country the more we have. Now that our economy is past full employment we need more hard working Roman Catholics then ever.

  19. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul you are in good company


  20. Manny Barrera says:

    Paul there over one million Aztecs in Mexico, many still speak their native language.

    Inca’s they are still there. The Spaniards considered Indians to be human, and worthy of being converted to Catholics. The “Christian” Protestants considered the Native Americans less than human and to be destroyed or removed. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”.

    The annihilation of the Native American was worse than what Hitler did. Yeah good Christians those Protestants.


    Kubosh is German isn’t it Paul?


    There are two countries in South America that did the same thing, those Germanic tribes are “Barbarians” so said the Romans.

  21. Manny Barrera says:

    Oh yeah Paul and you Trump do have that German background. Not all Germans are bad just the racist hate mongers.

  22. Manny Barrera says:

    Good night Paul.

  23. Jules says:

    Paul, I can’t figure out what point you are trying to make. Is Bill posting under your name?

  24. C.L. says:

    God help us all if Paul’s apparent illness (and greater (?) knowledge of indigenous peoples and historical migration habits) is somehow genetically leaked to Michael. I haven’t heard such nonsense since the last time I turned on Comedy Central’s Drunk History.

  25. Pingback: Fletcher reports raising $1 million in Q2 – Off the Kuff

  26. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules & C.L.:

    Paul correctly and easily, I might add, just got Manny to once again express his abject hatred for whites. You folks think, hey, we’re suave liberals, we will be exempt from that hate. Trust me, you aren’t. You feel like you’re just a happy coalition of victim groups who all support each other and sing Kumbaya together. The truth is a little more ugly. You really think the Muslims support gays and feminists, for example? You think your Latino allies like Manny don’t hate you for being white? Manny, like Oprah is already on record as hoping you and your parents die. Do you think the BLM crew really overlooks your whiteness because you are down with the cause? They only hate white Trump supporters but not you too? Get real.

    The reason whites are fleeing the Democratic party is clear and understandable. They recognize they are no longer welcome. The reason gays, blacks and other are joining the #WalkAway movement is they have grown tired of the identity politics game, too.

    The Trump tent is getting bigger, because we are taking in (legal, of course) refugees fleeing liberal hate. If you deviate one bit from the liberal agenda, you get branded a racist, bigot, misogynist homophobe, and any other slur that can be thrown out. Manny’s the perfect example of that. Even the solid liberals here get excoriated by Manny if they deviate an inch from the message. Manny IS the Democratic party, using hate speech to keep others from questioning anything.

    The #WalkAway movement is gaining steam because people are waking up to the realization that, really, who gives a crap what slurs are shouted at you? At this point, it’s a combo of the boy who cried wolf, combined with water off a duck’s back. And that just makes the left even angrier and more violent, like Maxine Waters and the San Antonio hat robber, which in turn causes more people to flee. It’s looking a lot like it will be another long hot Summer of ’68 in America.

  27. Jules says:

    Why do racists think being called a racist is worse than being a racist?

    How is Maxine violent?

  28. Bill Daniels says:

    Look at your new rising star, Alexandria from the Block, AKA She Guevarra. She was happy to defeat Crowley, the old white guy, simply because it was a white man. Men are bad. Why do you think Pelosi and Schumer both are asking Alexandria to tone down her rhetoric? First, they know that socialism doesn’t play well with voters who are old enough to understand why socialism doesn’t work, and second, they don’t want her in-your-face hatred of whites out there so prominently, because they are trying to save the dwindling white base they still have left.

  29. Bill Daniels says:


    I love it when you call me names, like you think that means something to me. Bring it.

    I’m sure you were the star of your high school debate team with solid arguments like that.

    As to Maxine, she directly called for mob violence against Trump’s cabinet, and by extension, Trump supporters.


  30. Jules says:

    Lol, i can totally tell your are against name calling, “She Guevarra”, “Alexandria from the Block”…

    Do you prefer white supremacist?

  31. C.L. says:

    C’mon November !

  32. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill you a Russian loving Racist Rabbit, so full of it, all you do is lie, lie some more and troll, how much are you paid to troll Bill?

    Bill why not post who you really are? What are you scared off? As to attacking someone for name calling you did the same thing idiot. Go back to your rock, underneath to be precise.

    Really Bill, the name you see that is my name, actually Manuel is the first name Manny is the nickname that Rob Todd gave me. I have nothing to hide, you do! Show yourself, Bill, you are a coward. Paul I respect for using his name.

  33. Manny Barrera says:

    In today’s post, Kuff correctly labels people like Bill evil, they are running scared. They are so use to being the attack dogs that when people start doing it to them they start scattering like the rabbits that they really are. Like all rules that are exceptions.

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