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Democrats Overwhelm Republicans In Latest Fundraising Period For Texas' Hottest U.S. House Races

Democrats lead Republicans in fundraising for U.S. House races
Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via REUTERS
Democrats lead Republicans in fundraising for U.S. House races

Across 10 battleground seats that national Democrats want to flip, all but one Democrat outraised their Republican opponents. Republicans, meanwhile, kept cash-on-hand leads in most of the nine contests where they were outraised.

All but one of the 10 Democrats running to flip nationally targeted U.S. House seats in Texas raised more than their Republican opponents over the past three months, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

In six of those nine races, the Republican ended the quarter with more cash on hand, a financial advantage heading into the last full month before Election Day. But the Democratic fundraising shows serious momentum as the national party reaches the finale of its drive to make Texas the top congressional battleground nationwide this November.

Republicans also had a bright spot in one of the two seats they are trying to win back, that of Democratic Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher of Houston. Her GOP challenger, Wesley Hunt, soundly outraised her. She ended the quarter with a small cash-on-hand advantage.

The reports were due Thursday to the Federal Election Commission, the second-to-last major federal campaign finance deadline ahead of Election Day. Early voting in Texas began Tuesday and ends Oct. 30.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting 10 Republican-held seats across the state, while its GOP counterpart is working to take back the two it lost in 2018. Those seats are now held by Fletcher and fellow Democratic Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas.

Campaign fundraising is one part of the financial picture in each district. At least five of the 12 races being targeted by both have drawn millions of dollars in outside spending by national groups such as the DCCC; the National Republican Congressional Committee; House Majority PAC, which supports Democrats; and Congressional Leadership Fund, which backs Republicans.

The GOP incumbents who were outraised in the third quarter are Reps. John Carter of Round Rock, Van Taylor of Plano, Ron Wright of Arlington, Michael McCaul of Austin, Chip Roy of Austin and Roger Williams of Austin.

The biggest disparity was between Roy and his Democratic foe, Wendy Davis, who more than doubled his fundraising, $3.5 million to $1.6 million. Yet even after she outspent him by a nearly 5-to-1 margin — $4.5 million to $945,000 — Roy kept a healthy cash-on-hand advantage. He had $2.4 million in reserves to $1.9 million for Davis.

The Democratic fundraising dominance was most stark in the three open seats that the DCCC is working to flip: those of retiring Republican Reps. Will Hurd of Helotes, Kenny Marchant of Coppell and Pete Olson of Sugar Land. In all three districts, the Democratic nominees easily outraised their GOP rivals, outspent them and entered October with more money in the bank.

The most dramatic example was in Olson’s district, where Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni more than doubled the fundraising of his Republican opponent, Troy Nehls, $2.1 million to $834,000. Kulkarni outspent Nehls by over 3-to-1 and with $1.7 million cash on hand, he began October with almost five times more money to spend.

Regardless of candidate-to-candidate comparisons, though, the latest filings showed a staggering wave of money is pouring in to the races. Across the 12 districts, 13 out of the 24 candidates raised $1 million or more, a group that comprises eight Democrats and five Republicans.

One of those Republicans was Hunt, who raked in $2.8 million to Fletcher’s $1.3 million. She concluded the quarter with $1.6 million in the bank to his $1.4 million.

In the other NRCC-targeted seat, Allred stayed narrowly ahead of his Republican opponent, Genevieve Collins, when it came to third-quarter fundraising. He got $1.26 million in donations, while she received $1.23 million and loaned herself $795,000. Allred ended the period with more money in the bank, $1.7 million to Collins’ $1 million.

Correction: This story originally stated that early voting began Monday in Texas. It began Tuesday.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Patrick Svitek | Texas Tribune