It’s July, and that means it’s campaign finance report season. Everyone has reports due at the end of June, so at every level of government there are reports to look at. I’ll be working my way through them, starting today with reports from the many people running for Congress as Democrats this cycle, some of whom have done very well in the fundraising department. I took a look at all of the Q2 FEC reports for Texas Democratic Congressional candidates, and found a few things to talk about. First, here are some of the more interesting reports:
Todd Litton – CD02
Jana Sanchez – CD06
Dori Fenenbock – CD16
Christine Mann – CD31
And here’s a summary of what’s in them:
Dist Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ========================================================= 02 Litton 138,702 6,936 0 131,845 06 Sanchez 51,568 29,479 0 19,728 07 Triantaphyllis 451,165 48,776 0 402,389 07 Fletcher 365,721 22,671 0 343,049 07 Moser 234,901 42,530 0 192,370 07 Westin 152,448 32,560 0 119,888 07 Cargas 35,708 27,575 13,750 14,549 07 Kerner 17,173 3,602 2,700 13,571 07 Butler 9,470 7,371 0 2,099 16 Fenenbock 343,835 15,088 50,000 328,746 21 Kopser 204,639 68,816 0 135,823 21 Crowe 44,648 19,936 0 24,811 21 Perri 41,186 15,876 7,140 25,309 21 McFadden 37,209 18,517 500 18,691 31 Mann 19,771 5,820 0 13,685 32 Meier 344,366 45,996 27,848 298,369 32 Allred 205,591 56,993 25,000 148,597 36 Steele 64,627 19,052 1,231 45,574 36 Powell 27,158 5,153 0 22,004
I don’t have all of the candidates in here – there are over 100 reports, including incumbents, candidates from past races who are not active, and people who raised no money – just the ones I felt like mentioning. It’s a bit arbitrary, but I basically included races that had at least one candidate of interest to me. I did not include every candidate from every race – I skipped people in CDs 02, 21, and 32, in particular. Some candidates of interest are not here, specifically Veronica Escobar in CD16, MJ Hegar in CD31, and Pete Gallego in CD23; Escobar has not made her entry official as yet, and both Hegar and Gallego got in too late to have anything to file about.
With all those preliminaries out of the way, let’s note that the top story here is the large number of large numbers. Four Republican incumbents were outraised last quarter by at least one of their Democratic opponents – Ted Cruz, Ted Poe in CD02, John Culberson in CD07, and Lamar Smith in CD21. Pete Sessions in CD32 only just outraised Ed Meier, and once you add in Colin Allred he trailed the Democratic candidates significantly. Suffice it to say, we have never seen anything like this, certainly not since the DeLay re-redistricting. All of these Republicans have an overall cash on hand advantage, but it won’t be anywhere near the kind of advantage they’re used to. When Hegar and Gallego get up to speed, I expect both of them will be in the same class as their peers in these races.
The redistricting ruling is likely to have an effect on this for the next quarter as well. All of the maps presented by the plaintiffs created another Democratic district in the D/FW area, which was usually drawn as CD24, and significantly reconfigured CD27 as well. Neither of those districts currently has anyone who filed a finance report as a Dem, but if one of these maps or something like them gets adopted for 2018, that will change in a hurry.
Disclaimer time: Money isn’t everything, and fundraising isn’t destiny. But think of all the times you’ve heard people complain – or you yourself have complained – about Texas acting as an ATM for campaigns everywhere else. This is all money being raised for candidates here, and it’s happening in a year where there are and have already been plenty of opportunities to fund campaigns in other states. This is a level of enthusiasm and engagement we are not used to seeing. I don’t know how this will all turn out – these are still Republican districts that will take a major shift in the electorate to be competitive. Right now, a lot of people think that’s possible, and they are literally putting their money where that belief is. I don’t see how this is anything but good news.