Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R-Dickinson) holds a 3-to-2 edge in campaign contributions, but challenger Mayes Middleton has outspent Faircloth by $380K. The challenger has a significant advantage in cash on hand, $569K to $223K.
Democrat Amanda Jamrok, who is unopposed in the primary, has raised less than $1K, and Libertarian Lawrence Johnson has not filed a report. This analysis focuses on the Republicans.
Middleton, a Wallisville oil company executive, loaned his campaign $500K in late December, bringing his total loan principal balance to $985K. Faircloth has a $30K loan principal balance, which he has held since his initial campaign finance report was filed in 2012. These amounts are not included in their contribution totals.
Middleton’s ability to self-fund his campaign alters the typical dynamic of a primary challenger needing significant campaign contributions from outside sources in a short period of time. Over the last six years, Middleton and members of his family have given at least $915K to Republican candidates, party organizations and movement conservative PACs (including, ironically, a pair of donations totaling less than $4K to Faircloth in 2014). Middleton is a former board member of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Empower Texans Foundation.
Putting aside the candidates’ personal resources, the largest geographic sources of contributions are Austin ($170K) and Houston ($65K), which account for 47% and 18% of all contributions, respectively.
Less than $1 out of every $6 raised by the candidates has come from zip codes wholly or partially within the district. Faircloth leads Middleton, $34K to $19K, in contributions from district zip codes, but Middleton has received 100 more individual contributions than Faircloth. The average contribution Faircloth received from an individual in a district zip code was $342. For Middleton, it was $100.
Serving second term
$45,250 – Texas State Farm Agents PAC
$25,000 – Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC
$21,300 – Associated Republicans of Texas
$12,500 – Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC
$8,500 – Lisa Halili
$6,370 – Texas House Republican Caucus PAC
$5,000 – Farmers Employee & Agent PAC
$4,000 – American National Insurance PAC, ENPAC Texas
$2,500 – Kat Bouvier, Texas Travel Industry Assoc. PAC, William Varner, Bob Wortham
Oil company executive
$10,000 – Tim Brown, Holloway Frost
$5,005 – Gay Gaddis
$5,000 – Windi Grimes, Bryan Hardeman, Allen Hartman, Stacy Hock, Gail Jaquish, Ellen Rutherford, Jeff Sandefer, Farris Wilks
$3,200 – Susan Bollich
$3,005 – Dougal Cameron
$2,500 – Alex Cranberg, Jan Duncan, William Harte, John Lodge III, Reed Morian
Faircloth’s three largest donors – Texas State Farm Agents PAC ($45K), Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC ($25K) and Associated Republicans of Texas ($21K) – represented 42% of his total contributions in 2017. Middleton’s three largest donors beyond himself – Tim Brown ($10K), Holloway Frost ($10K) and Gay Gaddis ($5K) – gave 18% of his total contributions. This is the reverse of a typical Republican primary battle between a movement conservative-backed challenger and a business group-backed incumbent. In recent election cycles, challengers have tended to be more top-heavy in their contributions.
Middleton’s donors include several individuals who have made significant contributions to the Empower Texans PAC over the years, including Windi Grimes, Stacy Hock, Jeff Sandefer and Farris Wilks, each of whom have given Middleton $5K (Wilks has given as much as $125K to a single candidate in one check in recent years.). Empower Texans PAC has endorsed Middleton but not made any contributions so far.
The combination of Middleton’s ability to self-fund and a stable of donors who have given quite generously to conservative challengers in the recent past suggest the challenger has access to near limitless resources for a House race. Typically, one must evaluate whether the challenger can remain competitive resource-wise as the incumbent draws upon business groups, large donors and other PACs for help. In this race, the question appears to be reversed.
In the past, Faircloth has proven a strong fundraiser as Election Day approaches. In 2012, Faircloth raised $494K during the last month or so of his unsuccessful general election campaign against then-Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston), bringing his total for the election cycle to nearly $900K. In 2014, he raised even more. Faircloth reported $600K in contributions on his 8-day-out report, which covered 30 days, just before his general election victory over Susan Criss. For the cycle, he raised $1.2M. In 2016, he raised a total of $521K over the course of a much less contentious campaign, a majority of which he raised during its final few weeks.
Expect the 30-day-out, and especially the 8-day-out, reports to show greatly accelerated fundraising efforts by both candidates and potentially ever greater loan principal for the challenger. The next campaign finance reports are due February 5.
Interactive charts and lists of the candidates’ largest contributors follow the jump. Click the “Read on the Web Site” link to see them.
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