January semiannual reports were due for state officeholders and candidates on Tuesday. They cover contributions received and expenditures made during the second half of 2017. For most primary challengers and open-seat candidates, they are the first window into their potential competitiveness in March. This report covers statewide offices.

The seven statewide elected officials seeking re-election to executive branch offices reported holding a combined $78.3M on hand, nearly $50M more than the set of incumbents seeking re-election in 2010 reported eight years ago. Several officials reported historic war chests:

  • Greg Abbott’s $43.3M is the largest cash-on-hand figure ever reported for a state officeholder or candidate seeking state office.
  • Gov. Dan Patrick’s $18.1M is the largest cash-on-hand figure ever reported for a lieutenant governor or candidate for the office.
  • Gen. Ken Paxton’s $5.7M is the largest cash-on-hand figure for an attorney general or candidate for the office not named Abbott.
  • Land Comm. George P. Bush’s $3.4M is the largest cash-on-hand figure ever reported for a land commissioner or candidate for the office. It is possible that David Dewhurst may have maintained a higher campaign account balance, but candidates were not required to report cash on hand at that time.
  • Railroad Comm. Christi Craddick’s $2.7M is likely the largest cash-on-hand figure for a railroad commissioner or candidate for the office.

The seven incumbents’ combined cash-on-hand balances is more than double the respective combined war chests of the six leading open-seat candidates and one incumbent seeking those offices four years ago.

Collectively, the seven incumbents raised $15.2M during the last half of 2017, slightly below their collective efforts during the end of June 2017 ($16.1M) and behind the pace of the seven respective candidates in 2013 ($17.0M).

We’ve already discussed Abbott’s record-setting report in detail here. His Democratic challengers have less than $150K on hand combined. Abbott has nearly $300 for every $1 in the Democrats’ combined war chests. Collectively, all Democratic candidates for executive statewide office have around $1M, and more than half of that belongs to AG candidate Justin Nelson.

Agriculture Comm. Sid Miller out-raised primary challenger Trey Blocker, $107K to $50K, but Blocker has a $487K to $402K advantage in cash on hand. Miller’s largest contributors included the Dejong dairy family ($12.5K), Gatesville fitness business owner Gary Heavin ($10K), Midland oil businessman James Henry ($10K), Temple businessman Drayton McLane ($10K), Midland oil businessman Kyle Stallings ($10K), Hereford rancher Johnny Trotter ($10K), Midland businessman Tim Dunn ($5K) and Odessa oil businessman Dick Saulsbury ($5K). Blocker’s contributors include Jackson Walker LLP PAC ($5K), Margo Cardwell PLLC ($5K in kind) and former Agriculture Comm. Todd Staples ($1K).

Two of the Supreme Court incumbents seeking re-election led their respective races in funds raised and cash on hand. In the SC4 race, Democratic challenger R.K. Sandill out-raised Justice John Devine (R), $145K to $108K, and has a slight $226K to $210K advantage in cash on hand. Devine’s largest contributors were Houston attorney Tony Buzbee ($30K) and Q PAC ($10K). All of Sandill’s contributors gave $5K or less. Since January 2017, Devine has out-raised Sandill, $300K to $203K.

The 10 candidates for the three Court of Criminal Appeals seats on the ballot collectively have less than $85K on hand.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC