One of the three Republicans running to succeed Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) has several significant advantages in campaign resources over his rivals, and this time he cannot be out-raised or outspent by an incumbent. Two years ago, Cook defeated Corsicana bakery owner Thomas McNutt by 225 votes in the 2016 Republican primary after out-raising the challenger, $1M to $452K, and outspending him, $1.4M to $472K. This time, Cook is retiring and McNutt holds the key advantages.
McNutt announced his plans to seek a rematch against Cook in April, while the legislative session was still in progress. Six months later, Cook announced he would not seek re-election. Several weeks after that, Palestine real estate broker Cody Harris announced he would seek the seat. After Thanksgiving, Streetman business developer Linda Timmerman made her campaign announcement. By the time his opponents had entered the race, McNutt had already raised nearly $375K and received endorsements from dozens of local elected officials and conservative activists.
The eventual primary winner will face Oakwood cattle raiser Wesley Ratcliff (D) and Bynum educator Dodd Carmichael (I), assuming the independent candidate files a petition with sufficient signatures. Ratcliff has not filed a campaign finance report, and Carmichael has not yet established a campaign committee.
Timmerman reported a $30K loan balance, and Harris has a $5K loan balance. McNutt did not report any loans.
At this point in the 2016 campaign, McNutt had $500K less on hand than Cook. This time, McNutt has a $150K advantage over Harris and a $200K advantage over Timmerman.
Both Harris ($59K) and Timmerman ($21K) out-raised McNutt’s $19K in contributions during the first 25 days of January, but McNutt had a significant head start. For the election cycle, he has out-raised Harris better than 3-to-1 and out-raised Timmerman better than 12-to-1. McNutt has outspent his rivals better than 10-to-1 so far in the election cycle.
Importantly, McNutt is nearly 40% ahead of his fundraising pace from his 2016 campaign. As of the same point in the election cycle in 2016, McNutt had raised $346K. He would go on to raise another $106K, of which $40K came from Empower Texans PAC. He has already raised more than his 2016 total.
Austin is the largest single geographic source of contributions thus far, accounting for about a third of all contributions. Harris has received a greater proportion of his contribution total (57%) from Austin than either McNutt (28%) or Timmerman (13%).
About 22% of the candidates’ contribution total comes from zip codes located wholly or partially within the district, which is a few percentage points higher than the 2016 primary. McNutt has raised 17% more from district zip codes than he did up to the same point in the 2016 election cycle, and he has raised more from district zip codes than his two opponents combined. McNutt has received 478 contributions from individuals in those zip codes, far more than Harris (91) and Timmerman (39), and double the number from his 2016 race, as of the same point in the election cycle.
Real estate broker
$47,101 – Associated Republicans of Texas
$35,000 – Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC
$15,000 – Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND
$5,000 – Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), Kim & Dedra Cole
$2,500 – Justin & Lesli Morisak
$2,000 – Steve Jenkins, F. G. Lipsey
$86,800 – Empower Texans PAC
$50,000 – JoAnn Wilks
$20,000 – Texas Right to Life PAC
$15,000 – James Webb
$11,737 – Constituents Focus PAC
$10,000 – Darwin Deason, Don Dyer, Anthony Ewing, Paul Jackson, Jeff Sandefer, Dick Saulsbury, Kyle Stallings
$7,750 – Bob McNutt
$5,000 – Al Hill Jr. Family Trust, Windi Grimes, Stacy Hock, Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), Prairie Petfood Ingredients LLC
$4,533 – Doug Deason
$4,500 – Michael Shore
$4,355 – Axiom Strategies LLC
$3,610 – Goodman Janie
$3,000 – Phillip Huffines, LVM III Loyal Trust, Mike Olcott
$10,000 – Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana)
$5,000 – Texas Parent PAC
$2,500 – Clifford Brown, Dan McCoy
$1,500 – John Biltz, Irene LaSusa, David Timmerman
$1,000 – Sue Cook, Dwight Duncan, Terry Jacobson, Mary Jones, Hester Parker, Richard Parker
McNutt’s three largest contributors – Empower Texans PAC ($87K), JoAnn Wilks ($50K) and Texas Right to Life PAC ($20K) – provided 33% of his contribution total. Harris’s three top contributors – Associated Republicans of Texas ($47K), Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC ($35K) and Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND ($15K – accounted for 65% of his contribution total. Timmerman’s three largest contributors – Cook ($10K), Texas Parent PAC ($5K) and one of her two $2.5K donors – comprised 46% of her contribution total.
Most of the 23 contributors who gave at least $5K to McNutt’s 2016 campaign have given to him again, accounting for more than half of McNutt’s total contributions. Many of McNutt’s largest donors also give significant contributions to Empower Texans PAC.
Both Harris and Timmerman have received contributions from Cook. Harris reported a $5K contribution from Cook’s campaign on January 9. Timmerman reported a $5K contribution on January 9 and a second $5K on January23.
The candidates’ next campaign finance reports are due February 26.
©2018 Texas Election Source LLC