Texas Election Source

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Texas Election Source provides frequent, insightful updates to our subscribers about the state of elections in Texas. We track more than 600 candidates for statewide office, Congress and the Texas Legislature. We also follow special elections, important local elections and constitutional amendment elections. If you’re interested in Texas politics, then let Texas Election Source be your guide to the ballot box.

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Recently Posted News & Analysis

FBI Targets Cuellar and Other News for January 20

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the home and campaign office of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) yesterday according to multiple news reports.

In a statement, Cuellar said he “will fully cooperate in any investigation [and] is committed to ensuring that justice and the law are upheld.”

The bureau’s actions come less than four weeks before early voting begins in the Democratic primary. Cuellar faces 2020 challenger Jessica Cisneros, a Laredo immigration attorney who narrowly lost by 4 points, and Laredo community organizer Tannya Benavides. Cisneros raised nearly $2M for her 2020 campaign thanks to significant national attention from progressive organizations and donors. In a statement, Cisneros said she is “closely watching” the developments and “focused on our campaign.”

AG (Likely R): Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) raised nearly $2.8M during the second half of 2021, and he entered 2022 with $7.5M on hand, according to an incomplete report filed yesterday (Wednesday). More than three quarters of Paxton’s contribution total is presently unitemized.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

State Candidates Raise $75M, Have $200M to Spend Entering 2022

Statewide and legislative candidates on the ballot this year raised more than $75M during the last half of 2021 and ended the year with more than $200M on hand.

Nearly $3 out of every $7 raised by those candidates went to Gov. Greg Abbott (R), two of his primary rivals and Beto O’Rourke (D), the frontrunner to face him in the general election. Abbott raised $18.9M, almost $10M more than O’Rourke ($8.95M), and more than 9 times the amount raised by either former Sen. Don Huffines ($2.01M) or former Republican Party of Texas chair Allen West ($1.98M).

More than $4 out of every $9 the candidates have on hand sits in the war chests of Abbott ($65.4M) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ($25.1M). Abbott’s cash on hand figure is the largest ever reported by a Texas candidate or officeholder, and Patrick’s is the largest ever reported by a Texan not named Abbott.

Semiannual campaign finance reports were due yesterday (Tuesday) for all state officeholders and candidates, regardless of their primary election status. These reports disclose contributions received and expenditures made between the earlier of July 1 or the date the campaign committee was formed and December 31. Our Crib Sheets have been fully updated to reflect reports that were available online as of today (Wednesday), which covered nearly all candidates on the ballot.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Lucio Resigns, Abbott Breaks Records Again

Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville) is resigning effective the end of the month. He informed Gov. Greg Abbott (R) of his intention via letter late last week. The letter provided no detail as to why Lucio would not be completing his full term.

Lucio did not seek re-election and did not run for his father’s open Senate seat. He was first elected in 2006 and re-elected seven times.

A special election could be called to fill his unexpired term. If so, it would be run in the district as it has been configured for the past decade. While anyone could run for the seat in the special election, anyone seeking to represent the seat beyond Lucio’s unexpired term needs to have filed already, barring a write-in campaign, because the filing deadline was last month.

Campaign Finance: Semiannual campaign finance reports were due today (Tuesday) for all state officeholders and candidates, regardless of their primary election status. These reports disclose contributions received and expenditures made between the earlier of July 1 or the date the campaign committee was formed and December 31. For candidates who filed special session reports, those contributions will also be included in their semiannual reports.

We expect at least the totals for most report to be available online tomorrow (Wednesday), but some larger reports’ detailed contributions will not be available for another day or so. We will be updating our Crib Sheets throughout the day, beginning with our hot primary races, subject to the reports’ availability.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Jones Ends Campaign to Focus on Mental Health and Other News for January 17

Damien Jones, one of two Republicans seeking the seat, has suspended his campaign for HD147 (Safe D). In a statement posted to social media, Jones described the “toll” that depression and PTSD has taken on himself and family.

“I have to prioritize the necessary work to become a healthier person,” he said. “I pray this honest admission helps anyone battling mental health issues realize that you are not a machine and should seek professional health.”

Campaign Finance Reports: January semiannual reports are due tomorrow (Tuesday) for all state officeholders and candidates. These reports cover the period beginning the earlier of July 1 or the date the campaign committee was formed and run through December 31. We expect at least the reported totals will become available beginning Wednesday. We will update our Crib Sheets throughout the day and provide analyses of key reports as the contribution-level details become available.

GOV (Likely R): The Don Huffines (R) campaign released a new ad, “I Am Don Huffines,” highlighting several conservative positions and endorsements.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjNfYK1zOrI

Huffines announced he has raised more than $12M “thus far,” which presumably includes the $4.1M he reported raising in the first half of 2021. The Huffines campaign press release did not provide any further details, such as how much of his contribution total is self- or family-funded or whether the total includes loan proceeds. Roughly half of his total contributions came from family members during the first half of the year, which excludes $5M in loans.

The special sessions provided a window into some of his fundraising.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Absentee Ballot Application Rejection Rate Rises and Other News for January 13

The Travis County Clerk’s office reported that it has rejected about half of the applications for an absentee (mail) ballot because of a recent change in law.

A provision of Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) requires for the first time an applicant to provide their driver’s license number or last four digits of their Social Security Number. If that number does not match the one used for the voter’s registration, then the application must be rejected.

“Although we expect more comprehensive guidance from the Secretary of State’s Office in the future, at this time, our office does not have enough information regarding the new online cure process to instruct voters how to cure their application,” the clerk’s office said in a statement. “Additionally, we have not received instructions from the state outlining what our office can do to assist voters in submitting a completed application.”

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

West Campaign Pushes Favorable Poll and Other News for January 12

Former Republican Party Chair Allen West’s (R) campaign released an internal poll (PDF via Texas Tribune) showing him leading Gov. Greg Abbott (R), 38%-33%, among “likely primary voters.” The poll was conducted by the Joe Basel-owned Paradigm. Basel is the former head of the American Phoenix Foundation, which is known by the Capitol crowd for claiming in 2015 to have hundreds of hours of video footage documenting ethical lapses by legislators and lobbyists.

As such, the poll numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Or a salt lick.

The poll memo includes topline results from four prior polls, the most recent of which showed West leading Abbott, 35%-33%, well within the poll’s margin of error. Looking at those toplines, it appears that Springtown IT support technician Rick Perry’s entry into the race took supporters almost exclusively from Abbott. In the poll released today (Wednesday), Perry received support from 12% of respondents. Former Sen. Don Huffines (5%) and Arlington talk show host Chad Prather (3%) were the only other candidates polling above 1%.

The memo includes results from six questions about scorecard conservative group issues, all phrased the same way as this example: “Do you feel Gov. Abbott has done enough to keep Texas from being the number one state for Human and Sex Trafficking?” [capitals theirs]. The percent of respondents saying “no” ranges from 69% to 78%.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Israel Launches Mayoral Bid and Other News for January 11

Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) announced she would run to succeed term-limited Mayor Steve Adler. Israel, who did not seek re-election, had been exploring the race since September, and her formal announcement had been expected.

Real estate agent and former council candidate Jennifer Virden and fitness trainer Erica Nix are already in the race. Council member Kathie Tovo and former Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin), who was mayor before running for Senate, are considering the race.

GOV (Likely R): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released a list of more than 50 sheriffs who have endorsed his re-election, representing roughly a quarter of Republican sheriffs in the state. The Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas PAC endorsed Abbott.

Freshman Rep. Jeff Cason (R-Bedford), who did not seek re-election, endorsed former Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas). Cason’s district went from Lean R to Likely D after redistricting.

LTGOV (Lean R): The National Rifle Assoc. PAC endorsed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R).

HD12 (Safe R): Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station).

HD37 open (Lean D): Texas Right to Life PAC endorsed Janie Lopez (R).

HD60 (Safe R): Texas Right to Life PAC endorsed challenger Mike Olcott (R) over Rep. Glenn Rogers (R-Graford).

HD98 (Safe R): Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake).

Austin: 220 people (0.6% of registered voters) have cast ballots during the first two days of early voting for the January 25 special election to fill the unexpired term of council member Greg Casar, who is running for CD35.

Houston: 350 people have cast ballots during the first two days of early voting for the January 25 special election to fill the unexpired term of council member Greg Travis, who is running for HD133.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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