We start with a Chron story.
Mayor Sylvester Turner raked in more than $1.7 million from late October through early December and spent roughly the same amount, leaving him with almost $600,000 for the final days of the runoff, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday.
The total marked a fundraising surge for Turner, who was aided by newly reset donor contribution limits for the runoff, though he still was outspent by Tony Buzbee, a millionaire trial lawyer and the mayor’s opponent in the Dec. 14 contest.
Buzbee, who is self-financing his campaign and refusing all campaign contributions, put $2.3 million of his own money into the campaign last month and spent almost $3.1 million between Oct. 27 and Wednesday, leaving him with about $524,000.
With a week to go in the election, Buzbee and Turner have now combined to spend about $19 million in what has become easily the most expensive Houston mayoral race yet. Buzbee has spent $11.8 million of the $12.3 million he has put into his campaign account, while Turner has spent $7.2 million since the middle of 2018.
As an earlier story notes, self-funding has only occasionally been a winning strategy in Houston. I don’t expect it to be any different this time, but I do note that Buzbee’s basic strategy has changed. I still haven’t seen a Buzbee TV ad since November, but we’ve gotten a couple of mailers (someone needs to clean up his database if he’s mailing to me), I’ve seen a bunch of web ads, and he’s been littering the streets with signs. Gotta spend that money on something.
Here’s a summary of the 8 day reports for the runoff:
Race Candidate Raised Spent Loan On Hand =========================================================== Mayor Turner 1,741,906 1,722,625 0 597,624 Mayor Buzbee 2,300,000 3,076,360 0 524,420 A Peck 38,075 39,252 5,000 15,373 A Zoes 6,600 7,562 4,000 3,723 B Jackson B Bailey 355 284 200 70 C Kamin 180,528 137,396 0 173,370 C Kennedy 35,160 18,343 0 25,995 D Shabazz 31,490 28,575 0 5,009 D Jordan 28,190 11,688 0 53,724 F Thomas F Huynh H Cisneros 54,700 75,012 0 41,632 H Longoria 36,945 32,906 0 20,946 J Rodriguez J Pollard 38,016 47,147 40,000 22,864 AL1 Knox 69,710 49,857 0 16,073 AL1 Salhotra 128,672 121,736 0 64,150 AL2 Robinson 111,280 199,791 0 189,649 AL2 Davis 27,725 10,367 0 19,816 AL3 Kubosh 72,215 69,164 276,000 113,500 AL3 Carmouche 17,570 11,757 0 5,812 AL4 Plummer 41,915 44,501 21,900 12,443 AL4 Dolcefino 19,215 17,482 0 6,478 AL5 Alcorn 195,105 154,757 0 49,463 AL5 Dick 1,100 65,205 75,000 2,545
I think there must be some reports that have not been uploaded – the Chron story mentions Sandra Rodriguez’s numbers, but there was no report visible on Saturday. It and the others may be there on Monday. In the Council races, what we see here is a continuation of what we had seen before. Big fundraisers raised big money, others didn’t. Eric Dick did his spend-his-own-money-and-file-weird-reports thing. Most of the spending has not been particularly visible to me – I’ve gotten a mailer from Robinson and Turner, and that’s about it.
How much any of this moves the needle remains to be seen. As we know from the Keir Murray reports, the runoff electorate is very similar in nature to the November electorate. That’s obviously better for some candidates than for others. If you think of fundraising in runoffs as being like the betting markets to some extent, then we’re probably headed towards the expected results. We’ll see if there are any surprises in store.