Texas Democrats have the money to make races competitive in November


AUSTIN (KXAN) — If Democratic candidates lose in November, it won’t be for lack of resources. Seven congressional candidates out-raised the Republican and incumbent they’re running against. They join Beto O’Rourke, the Senate candidate who’s pulling in historic levels of money for the minority party in Texas.

Political experts say anger at President Trump gets Democratic voters to open up their wallets just like President Obama did to Republican voters in 2010.

Federal races have a $2,700 individual contribution limit. 

Below are the Democratic Candidates who out-raised their opponents in Quarter 2:

  • District 7: Lizzie Pannill Fletcher raised $1 million against Rep. John Culberson, who raised $484,000.
  • District 21: Joseph Kopser raised $469,000 against Chip Roy, who raised $394,000.
  • District 22: Sri Preston Kulkarni raised $234,000 against Rep. Pete Olson, who raised $202,000. 
  • District 23: Gina Ortiz Jones raised $1.2 million against Rep. Will Hurd, who raised $684,000.
  • District 25: Julie Oliver raised $123,000 against Rep. Roger Williams, who raised $120,000.
  • District 31: Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar raised $1.1 million against Rep. John Carter, who raised $267,000.
  • District 32: Colin Allred raised $1 million against Rep. Pete Sessions, who raised $696,000.

The numbers validate work done by the democratic party earlier in the cycle. For the first time in years, the Texas Democratic Party filed candidates against nearly every Republican on the ballot. So for the first time in years, democratic donors have candidates to donate to. 

“They see that as a check on Trump and really see that as sending a message that we want something different,” said Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party Crystal Kay Perkins, “From the beginning of this cycle, we knew that we needed to fill the ballot. We wanted to make sure that we had democrats competing on every level.” 

“Having an antagonist in the White House definitely favors Democrats in the way that Barak Obama motivated Republicans in his tenure. The reality is anger is a much better motivator than contentment,” said Joshua Blank from the Texas Politics Project. “Democrats actually see their money being valuable if it’s spent in Texas. That’s what somewhat notable this time around.”

“It’s not to say this cycle is going to be competitive,” Blank said. “But if it’s not competitive, it’s not because the Democrats don’t have the resources to make it so.”

Republicans still have an extremely large fundraising advantage over Democrats on a state level. 

Governor Abbott just spent $16 million on TV ads for the November election. After that, he still has 130 times as much as his Democratic opponent, Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Valdez has $222,000 to spend until November. 

The same is true for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has millions more than his Democratic opponent, Mike Collier. 

KXAN reached out to the Republican Party of Texas for this report and has not received a response so far. 

Local democratic candidates celebrated their numbers. 

“The thousands of people who are supporting our campaign show that it is time to show the door to politicians who care more about campaign donors and political parties than protecting our country,” “MJ” Hegar told KXAN.

Joseph Kopser said, “In a district that has not seen a serious challenger in a generation, we’ve raised nearly twice as much as our opponent in May and June. He may have every traditional advantage in this gerrymandered district, and millions of dollars in dark money sure to pour in, but our numbers show that Texans are putting country over party and fighting back against Washington insiders and special interests.”

“I’m not taking any PAC money so you’ll know I’ll never be in anyone’s pocket. Yes, it’s hard, and there are naysayers — but I’ve been working hard and people have been telling me ‘No, you can’t’ my whole life,” Julie Oliver told KXAN, “Our campaign’s hard work is paying off, and we’re running the right way with our integrity intact.” 

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