Special Session: A called session of the Texas Legislature will convene tomorrow at 10 a.m. At this point, only a single item – adjusting the Sunset review dates for several agencies – is on the call, but Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to add 19 other items via a supplemental call, including reducing mail-in ballot fraud, once the Sunset bill has been addressed.
Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) filed Senate Bill 5 to increase penalties for voter fraud committed via mail-in ballots, particularly for individuals convicted of prior or concurrent election fraud offenses or the victim was a voter aged 65 or older.
Campaign Finance: State and legislative candidates’ July semiannual reports were due today. We will report highlights during the day on Tuesday.
GOV: The campaign of Gov. Greg Abbott announced it raised more than $10M during the last 12 days of June, and he has almost $41M on hand as his re-election bid formally begins. He raised $8.3M during the same period two years ago and has added $23M to his war chest during the last two years. As far as we can tell, he is the first Texas state elected official or candidate to report having more than $40M on hand. His cash-on-hand total exceeds that of all 38 of the state’s congressional incumbents combined.
Meanwhile, Tom Wakely, a San Antonio veteran and unsuccessful 2016 candidate for Congress, announced via Twitter that he would seek the Democratic nomination.
AGRIC: Austin attorney and lobbyist Trey Blocker will report having $750K on hand for a potential bid for the post if Agriculture Comm. Sid Miller does not seek re-election and instead accepts a position within the Trump Administration, something Miller has not ruled out. We previously reported Blocker filed a campaign treasurer appointment but did not indicate an office sought.
SD10: Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) reported just under $200K in contributions during the last 12 days of June and has $352K on hand. Her largest donors were Empower Texans PAC ($50K), Jo Ann Wilks ($25K), Dick Saulsbury ($10K) and the campaign of Sen. Van Taylor ($10K). Democratic challenger Allison Campolo reported $8K in contributions since establishing her campaign committee in March and has less than $4K on hand.
CD2: Add potential Democratic challenger Todd Litton to the list of congressional challengers reporting at least $100K on hand as of June 30. Litton out-raised U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble), $139K to $79K, for the quarter, but Poe has a nearly $2M advantage in cash on hand.
CD8: The Woodlands resident James Cantu established a federal campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands).
CD23: The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reported that former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) is “energized about 2018” but has not made a decision on whether he will seek a second rematch against U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio). Gallego said he has no timeline for a decision, and whether he runs or not “wouldn’t be dependent on an outcome that may or may not come” in the ongoing litigation over the state’s congressional districts. Boerne construction manager Devin Fitzpatrick has launched a web site and CrowdPAC fundraising page for the race, running as a Democrat. Other Democrats who may be considering the race are Judy Canales, a former U.S. Dept. of Agriculture appointee from Eagle Pass, and San Antonio federal prosecutor Jay Hulings.
See our 2018 Challengers page for all 205 challengers and open seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.
Houston: Mayor Sylvester Turner reported having $1.6M on hand. He is not up for re-election until 2019.