At least in terms of campaign finances, HD107 is the state’s hottest legislative race.

Rep. Kenneth Sheets

Rep. Kenneth Sheets

Victoria Neave


Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas) entered the campaign’s final weeks with significant advantages over Democratic challenger Victoria Neave in cash on hand and contributions. Sheets raised more than $300K between July 1 and September 29, most of any legislative incumbent with a general election opponent, but Neave’s $164K in contributions was greater than any other challenger.

The candidates will easily exceed $1 million in contributions for the 2015-16 election cycle combined. Sheets has raised $612K since the beginning of 2015, and Neave has raised $342K since declaring her candidacy, again the most of any legislative or statewide challenger this cycle.

Sheets had about a $150K advantage in cash on hand as of the end of September, but Neave’s $84K on hand was the highest total reported by a legislative or statewide challenger.

30-day-out Campaign Finance Report Summary

Cash on Hand

  • $232,060 76% 76%
  • $84,292 28% 28%


  • $303,505 100% 100%
  • $163,627 54% 54%


  • $232,060 76% 76%
  • $69,759 23% 23%

Neither candidate had a primary challenger, and there are no other candidates in the race.

The candidates have received nearly the same amount from individual contributors for the election cycle (Sheets $167K, Neave $152K). Sheets has a better than 2-to-1 advantage in contributions from PACs and other entities ($445K to $190K). About $2 out of every $5 contributed to the race has come from Austin.

Neave has the advantage in contributions from district zip codes ($99K to $17K) as just 3% of Sheets’s contributions have come from the district. However, Neave’s practical advantage in district-based contributions is much lower. About 63% of her district-based contributions came from a pair of law firms, who are her second- and third-largest overall contributors. Accounting for those contributions, her margin over Sheets locally is $22K. She has nearly twice as many individual donors from district zip codes contributing less than $1K than Sheets (104 to 56).

Geographic Sources of Contributions (2015-16 Cycle)


Raised from District Zip Codes

  • Austin – $296,018
  • Dallas – $157,030
  • Rest of Texas – $93,003
  • Out of State – $66,151


Raised from District Zip Codes

  • Dallas – $144,118
  • Austin – $85,495
  • Garland – $71,040
  • Rest of Texas – $35,406
  • Out of State – $6,404
Top Contributors to Sheets

$21,075 – Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC

$19,195 – Texas Republican Representatives Campaign Cmte

$15,000 – Associated Republicans of Texas, Al Boenker

$12,500 – Trevor Rees-Jones

$10,000 – Harlan Crow, Farmers Employee and Agent PAC

$7,500 – USAA Employee PAC

$6,575 – Texas House Republican Caucus PAC

$5,875 – Texas Land Title Assoc. PAC

$5,000 – Trevor Ahlberg, CVS Health PAC, Darwin Deason, Texans for Education Reform PAC, Richard Weekley

Top Contributors to Neave

$35,822 – Battleground Texas

$35,735 – Ben Abbott & Associates PLLC

$26,907 – Lafitte Abbott Wingo Rehfield & Holloway PLLC

$20,000 – Eberstein & Witherite LLP

$18,000 – Jorge Baldor

$16,442 – Amy Witherite

$11,801 – Workers Defense Project

$10,228 – Annie’s List

$10,000 – Ben & Christy Abbott, fmr Rep. Domingo Garcia, Texas State Teachers Assoc. PAC

$9,875 – Texas House Democratic Campaign Cmte

$7,000 – Serena Connelly

$5,000 – Marion Danna, United Food and Commercial Workers Int’l Union

Austin-based PACs and other entities provided 48% of Sheets’s contributions for the election cycle. Attorneys, other legal professionals and law firms comprised at least 43% of Neave’s contributions, and unions represented another 10%.

Neave has the resources to run a competitive race and overcome the less than 2,000-vote Republican straight-ticket advantage from the last two presidential election cycles. As a percent of all votes cast, Democratic straight-ticket votes have increased in each of the last four presidential elections, rising from around 21% in 2000 to 32% in 2012, but Republican straight-ticket voters were still the largest voting bloc in 2012 (and 2004).

We will revisit this race once more after early voting begins.