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The primary rematch between Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) and Fort Worth security solutions businessman Bo French is off to a slower start, at least in terms of campaign finance activity, than their expensive 2016 race. Geren out-raised French, $215K to $92K, during the last six months of 2017, and the incumbent has a nearly $490K advantage in cash on hand. Neither candidate reported receiving a contribution during the first half of the year.

Democratic candidate Michael Stackhouse has raised less than $1K. Fort Worth mortgage loan officer Sean Russell filed a declaration of intent to run as an independent candidate, but he has not established a campaign committee. This analysis focuses on the two Republicans.

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French reported a $57K loan principal. Geren’s campaign reported no debt.

As of this point in 2016, Geren had already raised $533K, almost exactly double the $262K French had already collected. French entered that race much sooner than he did this year. The challenger formed his campaign committee in early April 2015, while the Legislature was still in session, and he raised more than $100K during the first half of that year. He announced his second try for the seat in November, a full seven months later in the election cycle.

As of this point two years ago, Geren’s contribution and cash-on-hand totals ranked third of any House incumbent, trailing only Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), the chair of the Calendars Committee. French’s total contributions ranked third of any primary challenger. This year, Geren ranks 12th among House incumbents’ war chests, and his total contributions for 2017 ranks 8th. French ranks 70th among non-incumbents for cash on hand and 17th for total contributions.

Two years ago, Geren had an even larger cash-on-hand advantage than he holds today. His $956K war chest was seven times larger than French’s. Geren would go on to out-raise French, $454K to $258K, en route to a 58%-42% win.

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Fort Worth ($138K) and Austin ($83K) are far and away the two largest geographic sources of contributions, providing a combined 72% of all money raised by the candidates. The 2016 race was similarly top-heavy, with Austin ($363K) and Fort Worth ($301K) reversing positions as they supplied nearly 60% of all contributions to the candidates up through the first three weeks of January 2016.

Geren has a slight advantage ($43K to $37K) in funds raised from zip codes wholly or partially in the district and an advantage (115 to 77) in contributions from individuals in those zip codes. In their 2016 race, less than 15% of contributions came from district zip codes, and the candidates had nearly identical totals of individual contributors.

Rep. Geren

Rep. Charlie Geren

Fort Worth
Restaurateur
Serving ninth term

Largest Contributors

$15,000 – Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC

$10,000 – AT&T Texas PAC, Good Government Fund (Bass family), PSEL PAC

$5,000 – D.J. Craine, Haydin Cutler, Energy Leaders PAC

$3,000 – Koch Industries PAC, Union Pacific PAC

$2,500 – Texas Classroom Teachers Assoc. PAC, former Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), Todd and Nancy Gregory, Christopher Huckabee, Independent Bankers Assoc. of Texas PAC, Malcolm Louden, Anne Marion, NuStar PAC, Rural Friends of Electric Cooperatives PAC, Texas Trial Lawyers Assoc. PAC, Valero PAC, Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas PAC, Winstead PAC

$2,000 – Anadarko Petroleum PAC, Atmos Energy PAC, Scott Burch, Comcast PAC, David Fairchild, Texas Assoc. of Builders HOMEPAC, IMPACT, Breck and Shannon Ray, UPS PAC

French

Bo French

Fort Worth
Security solutions businessman
Lost 2016 primary, 58%-42%

Largest Contributors

$10,100 – Marcia French

$10,000 – Empower Texans PAC, Robert McLean

$5,000 ­– Windi Grimes, Jeff Sandefer, Gregory Scheideman

$2,500 – Colin Bailey, John Beadles, David Kramer, Darlene Pendery

$2,000 – Michael Radler

Geren’s three largest contributors – Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC ($15K) and two of his three $10K donors – accounted for 16% of his total contributions to date. French’s three largest donors – Marcia French ($10K), Empower Texans PAC ($10K) and Robert McLean ($10K) – provided nearly a third of his total contributions.

As of this time two years ago, Empower Texans had given French’s campaign $5K. It contributed $50K eight days into January, then provided an additional $105K during the campaign’s final month. The 30-day-out reports will indicate the extent to which the race is ramping up with donors, particularly those that placed large bets on this race’s first running. They are due February 5.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC