We have explored the recent historical relationship between open-seat candidates’ rank in total contributions and their success rate in winning their primary outright or advancing to a runoff. Our findings for two-person primary races and primaries involving at least three candidates since 2006 indicate total contributions is a pretty good historical indicator of the candidate’s ultimate success on Election Day:
- 77% of candidates with the highest contribution total win outright or advance to a runoff out of a field of three or more candidates, and 85% of candidates with the higher contribution total in a two-person race win.
- 58% of candidates with the second highest contribution total win outright or advance to a runoff out of a field of three or more candidates.
- 25% of candidates ranked third advance to a runoff, and
- 9% of candidates ranked fourth and lower advance to a runoff.
Candidates who raised and spent the most money won 25% of the time, advanced 58% of the time and lost or missed the runoff just 16% of the time. None of the outright winners and just 14% of runoff candidates were outside of the top two in both total contributions and total expenditures. Half of all runoffs involved the two candidates who spent the most money. No candidate ranked 9th or below advanced to a runoff during the last six election cycles.
We looked yesterday at the state of play for statewide and legislative open seats. Today we look at the open Congressional seats, including a couple of primary races not involving the incumbent’s party.
Our analysis of primary success rates was based on candidates’ ranks as of their pre-primary reports. Those reports have not been filed yet this year. With this in mind, today we look at the total contributions for candidates in open-seat primary races for statewide office and the legislature as of the candidates’ year-end reports. Candidates are ranked in order of their total contributions, which is the sum of all contributions received between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017.
Keep in mind that the percentages shown are historical, based on candidates’ contribution ranks. We do not consider them an actual measurement of the likelihood that a particular candidate will win or advance. Instead, looking across all the races, recent history suggests that about three out of every four candidates in the first column can be expected to win or advance, a little more than half of the candidates in the second column can be expected to advance, and so on.
Ranked Fourth or Lower
Ted Poe (R-Humble) is retiring.
5th: David Balat (C: $67,122 | E: $69,037 | COH: $83,186)
6th: Jonny Havens (C: $31,916 | E: $17,160 | COH: $94,756)
7th: Jon Spiers (C: $31,055 | E: $367 | COH: $39,689)
8th: Malcolm Whittaker (C: $4,235 | E: $3,214 | COH: $1,021)
9th: Justin Lurie (C: $0 | E: $181 | COH: -$181)
Sam Johnson (R-Plano) is retiring.
Alex Donkervoet and David Niederkorn have not filed campaign finance reports.
Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) is retiring.
5th: Sam Deen (C: $41,272 | E: $11,095 | COH: $30,177)
Danny Campbell, Charles Lingerfelt and David Williams have not filed campaign finance reports.
Joe Barton (R-Ennis) is retiring.
5th: Shawn Dandridge (C: $1 | E: $4,195 | COH: $946)
Ken Cope, James Dillingham, Deborah Gagliardi, Kevin Harrison, Mel Hassell and Troy Ratterree have not filed campaign finance reports.
Barton’s late decision not to seek re-election gave the candidates little time to raise funds prior to year’s end.
John Culberson (R-Houston) is seeking re-election in a seat rated “Toss up” by national pundit Charlie Cook. We look at the Democratic primary here.
5th: James Cargas (C: $63,581 | E: $61,640 | COH: $12,268)
6th: Ivan Sanchez (C: $14,640 | E: $13,318 | COH: $4,707)
7th: Joshua Butler (C: $10,470 | E: $4,585 | COH: $3,932)
Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is running for U.S. Senate.
as of Sept. 30
Norma Chavez and Jerome Tilghman have not filed campaign finance reports.
Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) is retiring. We look first at the Republicans, then the Democrats.
5th: Susan Narvaiz (C: $39,042 | E: $14,833 | COH: $24,210)
6th: Matt McCall (C: $20,575 | E: $19,988 | COH: $105,270)
7th: Foster Hagen (C: $13,685 | E: $13,685 | COH: $0)
8th: Autry Pruitt (C: $13,166 | E: $12,312 | COH: $854)
9th: Samuel Temple (C: $13,042 | E: $8,045 | COH: $4,997)
10th: Ivan Andarza (C: $7,497 | E: $3,987 | $3,510)
11th: Quico Canseco (C: $7,225 | E: $3,392 | COH: $131,654)
12th: Anthony White (C: $4,000 | E: $3,424 | COH: $576)
13th: Ryan Krause (C: $757 | E: $9,227 | COH: $321)
14th: Al Poteet (C: $350 | E: $5,022 | COH: $487)
15th: Mauro Garza (C: $0 | E: $15,332 | COH: $168)
Eric Burkhart, Robert Stovall and Peggy Wardlaw have not filed campaign finance reports.
This is the largest field of candidates for a congressional office in Texas since 24 candidates ran in the 1993 special election for U.S. Senate, a ballot that included all parties’ candidates. That election had two clear frontrunners – then-Sen. Bob Krueger (D) and then-State Treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) – so it isn’t a good model for this primary race.
There are several candidates on the list above that could end up in a runoff just because of the sheer number of candidates. Former U.S. Rep. Quico Canseco (R-San Antonio) is one of those candidates. He has the 5th highest cash-on-hand total, and he has run out of the San Antonio media market for years.
Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) is seeking re-election. Here we look at the Democrats seeking to challenge him.
Angie Villescaz has not filed campaign finance reports.
Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) is retiring.
Eddie Gassman. John Grunwald and Jerry Hall have not filed campaign finance reports.
Gene Green (D-Houston) is retiring.
Enrique Garcia, Augustine Reyes and Pedro Valencia have not filed campaign finance reports.
Texas has never elected a Latina to Congress. Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) cleared the field of potential challenges from sitting legislators, which seemed to set her up to be the first (or among the class of the first). Physician Tahir Javed has the early money lead through a combination of contributions and self-funding. Javed is also trying to blaze history. No Pakistani-American has ever been elected to Congress from any state.
Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) is seeking re-election. Here we look at the Democratic candidates seeking to challenge him.
5th: Brett Shipp (C: $46,969 | E: $29,778 | COH: $26,191)
6th: Todd Maternowski (C: $4,971 | E: $5,017 | COH: -$958)
7th: Ron Marshall (C: $36 | E: $343 | COH: -$20)
We will re-do this report after pre-primary campaign finance reports are filed (due February 22).
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