Freshman Rep. Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd) out-raised primary challenger Emily Kebodeaux Cook, $141K to $62K, during the second half of 2017 and outspent her, $111K to $27K. Cook’s first campaign contribution was not accepted until mid-October, so her totals were accrued during the last 10 weeks or so of the year. Bailes held a narrow $47K to $35K lead in cash on hand as of December 31.
Democrat Fred Lemond, a Liberty oil company senior manager, reported less than $1K in contributions. This analysis focuses on the Republicans.
Two years ago, Bailes emerged from a five-way primary to succeed the retiring Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton) and won the runoff over a more conservative candidate. He went on to rank near the bottom among Republicans on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans and Young Conservatives of Texas scorecards. He was the lowest-rated Republican on Texas Right to Life’s scorecard, ranking below three Democrats.
Cook is the general counsel for Texas Right to Life. She has been endorsed by many of the key movement conservative groups we track. Bailes has been endorsed by several of the key business groups we track. This dynamic is not uncommon in recent Republican legislative primaries. If you’re thinking it feels a little bit like “Groundhog Day,” that feeling is about to get stronger.
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