House candidates raised more than $18 million from July 1-December 31, and they collectively have $35 million on hand. About a quarter of that cash-on-hand total belongs to Speaker Joe Straus, who raised more than $2.5 million and has $8.8 million on hand. Straus faces two primary opponents, one of whom raised nearly $190K, which is a competitive amount for most House races. By and large, the top campaign war chests and top contribution totals belong to the Speaker’s leadership team and/or belong to incumbents facing no primary challengers. A lone Democrat made each list. Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), has the 6th highest cash-on-hand balance, and Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) posted the 7th highest contribution total.
Top House Campaign War Chests
  • $8,836,405 – Speaker Joe Straus (HD121)
  • $1,815,633 – Rep. Todd Hunter (HD32), unopposed
  • $955,809 – Rep. Charlie Geren (HD99)
  • $669,883 – Rep. Byron Cook (HD8)
  • $589,177 – Rep. Dennis Bonnen (HD24), unopposed
  • $585,652 – Rep. Senfronia Thompson (HD141), unopposed
  • $534,144 – Rep. Drew Darby (HD72), unopposed
  • $518,738 – Rep. John Kuempel (HD44), unopposed
  • $502,955 – Rep. Tan Parker (HD63), unopposed
  • $499,878 – Rep. Angie Chen Button (HD112)
  • $494,876 – Rep. Doug Miller (HD73)
  • $458,721 – Rep. Larry Phillips (HD62), unopposed
  • $457,731 – Rep. Lyle Larson (HD122), unopposed
  • $444,227 – Rep. Trent Ashby (HD57), unopposed
  • $405,760 – Rep. Four Price (HD87), unopposed
Top House Contribution Totals
  • $2,556,510 – Speaker Joe Straus (HD121)
  • $466,946 – Rep. Todd Hunter (HD32), unopposed
  • $429,884 – Rep. Charlie Geren (HD99)
  • $352,654 – Rep. Byron Cook (HD8)
  • $320,652 – Rep. Jonathan Stickland (HD92)
  • $297,778 – Rep. Doug Miller (HD72)
  • $290,951 – Rep. Richard Raymond (HD42), unopposed
  • $235,343 – Rep. Four Price (HD87), unopposed
  • $226,239 – Rep. Trent Ashby (HD57), unopposed
  • $209,440 – Rep. Wayne Smith (HD128)
  • $203,997 – Justin Holland (HD33)
  • $191,853 – Rep. Jason Isaac (HD45), unopposed
  • $191,652 – Rep. Tony Tinderholt (HD94)
  • $189,197 – Jeff Judson (HD121)
  • $170,875 – Rep. Cindy Burkett (HD113)
A total of 17 primary challengers raised at least $40K for the period. All but two of the challengers face Republican incumbents, most targeted by Empower Texans and other grassroots conservative groups. Only one of these 17 challengers out-raised the incumbent. In HD131, John Shike raised $47K to Rep. Alma Allen’s (D-Houston) $12K.
Top Contribution Totals Posted by Primary Challengers
  • HD121: Jeff Judson – $189,197 (Straus)
  • HD8: Thomas NcNutt – $163,399 (Cook)
  • HD99: Bo French – $158,167 (Geren)
  • HD14: Jess Fields – $134,271 (Raney)
  • HD92: Scott Fisher – $94,475 (Stickland)
  • HD115: Bennett Ratliff – $92,785 (Rinaldi)
  • HD2: Bryan Slaton – $66,854 (Flynn)
  • HD81: Josh Crawford – $63,672 (Landgraf)
  • HD114: Dan Morenoff – $50,933 (Villalba)
  • HD75: Chente Quintanilla – $50,300 (M. Gonzalez)
  • HD150: Valoree Swanson – $50,072 (Riddle)
  • HD55: Hugh Shine – $47,955 (M. White)
  • HD131: John Shike – $47,400 (Allen) – out-raised incumbent
  • HD128: Briscoe Cain – $42,712 (Smith)
  • HD58: Philip Eby – $42,116 (Burns)
  • HD94: Andrew Piel – $41,505 (Tinderholt)
  • HD47: Jay Wiley – $40,638 (Workman)

We will be looking in detail at some of the contribution patterns among some of the Republican challengers later this week.

Former members seeking their old seats generally did not fare as well as the current incumbents:

  • HD1: George Lavender raised $54K less and has $29K less on hand than Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston)
  • HD4: Lance Gooden raised $93K less and has $86K less on hand than Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman)
  • HD75: Chente Quintanilla raised $33K less and has $25K less on hand than Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint)
  • HD84: Jim Landtroop raised $105K less and has $257K less on hand than Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock)
  • HD115: Bennett Ratliff raised $13K less and has $86K less on hand than Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving)

The lone exception in the primary was former Rep. Hugh Shine (R-Temple). He has a $73K cash-on-hand advantage and has a slight advantage in overall contributions for the 2015-16 cycle. Rep. Molly White (R-Temple) out-raised Shine, $156K to $48K, for the fundraising period.

A pair of former incumbents seeking general election challenges out-raised the current incumbents and have more cash on hand:

  • HD117: Philip Cortez raised $20K more and has $6K more on hand than Rep. Rick Galindo (R-San Antonio), and
  • HD144: Mary Ann Perez raised $2.5K and has $23K more on hand than Rep. Gilbert Pena (R-Pasadena).

In the HD17 special election rematch, Brent Goleman raised $69K less and has $64K less on hand than Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart). Several incumbents facing primary opponents raised less than $30K:

  • HD20: Rep. Marcia Farney raised $20K, which was more than her opponent, and she has a $186K advantage in cash on hand
  • HD27: Rep. Ron Reynolds reported raising $0, but his three opponents combined to raise less than $15K.
  • HD106: Rep. Pat Fallon raised $18K, but his opponent reported no contributions. Fallon has $110K on hand
  • HD131: Rep. Alma Allen raised $12K, one fourth the total raised by her opponent, and she has half the cash on hand he does.
  • HD148: Rep. Jessica Farrar raised $16K and has $90K on hand. Her opponent’s report is not yet available online.
  • HD149: Rep. Hubert Vo raised $8K and has $17K on hand. His opponent’s report is not yet available online.

In HD117, Rep. Rick Galindo raised $22K, but he will not meet an opponent until the general election. Former Rep. Philip Cortez out-raised Galindo by nearly $20K, and Cortez holds a slight edge in cash on hand. Similarly, Rep. Gilbert Pena raised $6K, less than any of this three potential general election opponents in HD144.

Republican Open seat races are beginning to show some distinct front-runners, or pairs of candidates, following the first round of campaign finance results. There is less clarity for the open Democratic seats.

Cole Hefner ($53K on hand, $63K raised) and Jay Misenheimer ($42K on hand, $50K raised) are significantly ahead of their three rivals (One has not yet reported).
Jay Dean holds a significant lead in contributions ($98K to $45K for the period, $159K to $45K overall) and expenditures over David Watts, but Watts has an $18K lead in cash on hand.
HD18 appears to be a three-person race with Ernest Bailes ($51K on hand, $145K raised), Wes Hinch ($46K on hand, $59K raised) and Keith Strahan ($56K on hand, $39K raised) way ahead of their three rivals ($16K on hand, $26K raised combined).
None of the three candidates in HD33 has separated from the others in terms of resources, and all three are competitive. Lorne Liechty has the most on hand ($240K), Justin Holland the most contributions ($204K) and John Keating the highest loan balance ($158K).
Rep. Elliott Naishtat’s (D-Austin) late withdrawal left very little time for candidates to raise funds. Collectively, the seven candidates raised just over $100K in less than three weeks. Heather Way, Gina Hinojosa and Huey Ray Fischer combined for about 97% of that total, but Blake Rocap has the most cash on hand thanks to a $101K loan. No conclusions should be drawn from these preliminary numbers.
Austin Ruiz ($40K on hand, $66K raised) and Scott Cosper ($2K on hand, $71K raised) are out-raising and out-spending Larry Smith.
We have not yet seen Kevin Downing’s report. Mike Lang has $45K on hand and has raised $115K since announcing for the seat.
The three candidates posted competitive contribution and expenditure figures, but Lynn Stucky has a 3-to-1 advantage in cash on hand. Read King has a slight edge in contributions to date.
Stan Lambert has a better than 3-to-1 lead over his closest rival in cash on hand and contributions.
Lina Ortega out-raised Adolfo Lopez by $31K and has roughly the same advantage in cash on hand. She has also outspent Lopez 3-to-1.
Martin Golando raised less than $20K and has the same amount on hand. Neither of his two opponents raised more than $4K, but the candidates’ late entries into the race may have dampened fundraising totals. The 30-day-out reports may provide some clarity.
Mario Salas and Art Hall — the two former San Antonio council members in the race — were the only ones to raise more than $20K in the abbreviated campaign to succeed Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon. Byron Miller has the largest cash-on-hand total ($17K). Barbara Gervin Hawkins has the largest loan balance ($40K).
Kevin Roberts is unopposed in the HD126 primary. He has raised $94K and has $108K on hand. The two Democrats vying to face Roberts in November have combined for $100 in contributions.
Tom Oliverson has a nearly $175K advantage in cash on hand, and he out-raised his lone opponent by $62K.
Two candidates’ reports are not yet available online. The other two raised less than $10K combined.

The next campaign finance reports are due February 1 for all candidates with primary opponents.