Texas House Race 30-Day-Out Report Analysis

Challengers Outpacing Incumbents

By Jeff Blaylock – Founder & Senior Editor

More than $8 million flowed into races pitting an incumbent Republican House member against one or more primary challengers during the first 25 days of the year. This is more than 1.5 times the combined totals from 2018, 2020 and 2022 over the same period.

Candidates’ 30-day-out reports disclose contributions received and expenditures made between January 1 and January 25. This is the shortest campaign finance reporting period of the cycle, so it typically produces the lowest contribution totals. Not this year, at least not for races featuring an incumbent Republican House member facing at least one primary challenger.

Part of the reason is the sheer number of Republican House incumbents facing primary opposition. There are 48 this year compared to 29 in 2022, 11 in 2020 and 26 in 2018. But the average contribution totals for the incumbents and their highest-funded challengers are also up over those previous years.

Putting the Speaker’s primary race aside, incumbents raised an average of $104K for the period, well above the $46K average in 2022, $36K in 2020 and $67K in 2018. Their highest-funded rivals raised an average of $49K for the period this year, which eclipses the $12K average in 2022, $22K average in 2020 and $38K average in 2018.

About two-thirds of all contributions for the period went to the incumbents, which represents a higher share than in 2018 (64%) and 2020 (60%) but a lower share than in 2022 (78%). Over the previous three cycles, just nine candidates – 6 incumbents and 3 challengers – exceeded $100K in contributions for the corresponding cycle. In 2024 alone, 24 incumbents and 7 challengers – received more than $100K in contributions during this short period.

Seven challengers out-raised their incumbent opponents during the period, which equals the total number in 2018 (3), 2020 (2) and 2022 (2) combined. Those challengers are:

  • HD 11 Joanne Shofner, who out-raised Rep. Travis Clardy $289K to $40K
  • HD 19 Former Rep. Kyle Biedermann, who narrowly out-raised Rep. Ellen Troxclair, $102K to $101K
  • HD 20 Janine Chapa, who narrowly out-raised Rep. Terry Wilson, $34K to $31K
  • HD 62 Shelley Luther, who out-raised Rep. Reggie Smith, $86K to $78K
  • HD 65 Mitch Little, who out-raised Rep. Kronda Thimesch, $157K to $150K
  • HD 71 Liz Case, who out-raised Rep. Stan Lambert, $207K to $112K; and
  • HD 108 Barry Wernick, who out-raised Rep. Morgan Meyer, $73K to $43K.

Of those, only Case ($323K to $213K) and Little ($148K to $133K) have the advantage in cash on hand entering the campaign’s final month.

For the incumbents, the good news is that only one of the previous seven challengers to out-raise the incumbents for the 30-day-period won. Indeed, the batting average for House Republican primary challengers hasn’t been particularly good over the last few cycles regardless of fundraising. Only six incumbent Republican House members have fallen to primary challengers (9%) during the past three primaries (including runoffs).

That said, an unusually high number of House Republicans are facing multiple primary challengers. Since 1996, 38 incumbent legislators have been forced into a runoff. All but 10 of them lost.