Campaign finance reports are officially due Monday, and there are some in the system now. Candidates are free to say how they’ve done before their reports get posted, and the Chron asked some of the Mayoral candidates what we should expect when we see theirs.
The quest for Houston’s top job got off to its earliest fundraising start in history, with top candidates already raking in millions by this time last year. Since then, however, the arrival of new contenders like Jackson Lee and the subsequent dropoffs of others have caused a reshuffle in the race.
As November’s election draws near, five of the key contenders for Houston’s top job — Jackson Lee, Whitmire, former Metro chair Gilbert Garcia, attorney Lee Kaplan and City Council member Robert Gallegos — offered the Chronicle an early look at their 2023 fundraising results ahead of the official July 15 reporting deadline.
At this stage of the race, where polls mean little and all tout a diverse voter base, money alone often distinguishes real contenders. Here are the candidates’ fundraising sums and cash on hand so far, according to their campaigns:
- Whitmire: raised $1.5 million since October 2022; account balance at $9.9 million.
- Jackson Lee: raised $1.2 million since April 2023; declined to disclose her account balance.
- Garcia: raised about $170,000 from donors since March 2023, plus $3.1 million of his personal contribution; account balance at $2.9 million.
- Kaplan: raised about $2 million since January 2022 and lent $300,000 of his own money to the campaign; account balance at $1.2 million.
- Gallegos: raised about $60,000 since February 2023; account balance at around $160,000.
Like I said, we’ll see lots of reports beginning Monday. I’ll be sure to do my usual peeking at them. In the meantime, this gives you an idea of where we are, and it’s what I meant when I said that Jack Christie or any other later entrants would be starting well behind. If you don’t already have good name ID or a bunch of your own cash to get started, you don’t have a lot of time to catch up, and plenty of local donors have already picked a side. Good luck from there.