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Fundraising Pace Accelerates For North Texas House Races

Political signs for Tony Tonderholt and Alisa Simmons, opponents in Texas House district 94.
Christopher Connelly
Incumbent Tony Tinderholt (R) is defending his Arlington-area state House seat against Alisa Simmons (D).

Numbers show the state House is "competitive and both sides believe it."

Candidates for Texas House seats have raised and spent huge amounts of money over the past month, according to fundraising numbers out Tuesday.

Several North Texas House races have drawn well over $1 million for both candidates combined.

The campaign finance numbers are “very much a sign the House is competitive and [that] both sides believe it,” said Jeff Blaylock, publisher of the campaign analysis website Texas Election Source.

Blaylock said he’s never seen these amounts across so many races in this short amount of time.

If Texas Democrats were to win nine state House districts, the party would take control of the chamber and be able to check Republicans’ ability to draw gerrymandered state and federal district lines in 2021.

The state’s current maps were challenged up to the U.S. Supreme Court by civil rights groups and Democrats, who said they are racially discriminatory, although the challengers lost the case.

One of the drivers of the surge in donations is Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbott’s campaign recently told the Texas Tribune he would spend millions in over 20 House races. That spending has shown up on recent candidate reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

“At least on the Republican side, there is a concerted effort by a handful of leadership PACs, including Greg Abbott’s campaign, some of the Republican-branded PACs, as well as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, to defend their House majority,” Blaylock said.

Many of the donations from large GOP donors like the Abbott campaign are in-kind, meaning they are spent directly on mailers or commercials rather than cash to the candidates.

Democratic candidates are seeing large in-kind donations as well, but are also continuing to see a lot of money through very small dollar donations.

Competitive Texas House Races In DFW: Fundraising Numbers From 9/25/20 to 10/24/20, by district

64 Lynn Stucky* (R) $525,201 | Angela Brewer (D) $444,096

65 Kronda Thimesch (R) $891,291 | Michelle Beckley* (D) $483,933

66 Matt Shaheen* (R) $864,188 | Sharon Hirsch (D) $470,984

67 Jeff Leach* (R) $1,708,915 | Lorenzo Sanchez (D) $1,247,667

92 Jeff Cason (R) $392,434 | Jeff Whitfield (D) $461,839

93 Matt Krause* (R) $559,772 | Lydia Bean (D) $643,994

94 Tony Tinderholt* (R) $525,417 | Alisa Simmons (D) $451,047

96 David Cook (R) $1,162,600 | Joe Drago (D) $566,641

97 Craig Goldman* (R) $1,217,474 | Elizabeth Beck (D) $921,831

102 Linda Koop (R) $425,146 | Ana-Maria Ramos* (D) $121,596

108 Morgan Meyer* (R) $701,100 | Joanna Cattanach (D) $515,779

112 Angie Chen Button* (R) $1,515,011 | Brandy Chambers (D) $1,035,494

113 Will Douglas (R) $1,313,162 | Rhetta Bowers* (D) $366,299


Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.