January 17, 2020

Blue Wave Rookies Raise More than Half as Much
as Top Republican Targets in Texas House Fights

Incumbent Fundraising

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Texas House Cash
Blue Wave Democrats
July-December 2019
Donations & Loans
Cash on Hand Dec 31
John Turner (D-Inc)
House District 114
Jan 15 Report: $250,766
Total Donations: $286,212
Campaign Loans: $11,500
Cash on Hand: $388,380
Julie Johnson (D-Inc)
House District 115
Jan 15 Report: $159,438
Total Donations: $237,602
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $200,618
Vikki Goodwin (D-Inc)
House District 47
Jan 15 Report: $120,002
Total Donations: $137,057
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $36,850
Erin Zwiener (D-Inc)
House District 45
Jan 15 Report: $109,467
Total Donations: $128,725
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $75,336
John Bucy (D-Inc)
Jan 15 Report: $102,350
House District 136
Total Donations: $125,001
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $85,324
James Talarico (D-Inc)
House District 52
Jan 15 Report: $81,019
Total Donations: $117,970
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $68,656
Gina Calanni (D-Inc)
House District 132
Jan 15 Report: $82,002
Total Donations: $90,793
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $70,770
Jon Rosenthal (D-Inc)
House District 135
Jan 15 Report: $70,841
Total Donations: $80,409
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $41,320
Michelle Beckley (D-Inc)
House District 65
Jan 15 Report: $63,835
Total Donations: $79,170
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $79,170
Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Inc)
House District 102
Jan 15 Report: $50,957
Total Donations: $58,287
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $35,338
Rhetta Bowers (D-Inc)
House District 113
Jan 15 Report: $39,370
Total Donations: $42,985
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $38,591
Terry Meza (D-Inc)
House District 105
Jan 15 Report: $24,557
Total Donations: $26,411
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $51,966
Source: Texas
Ethics Commission

Six of the 12 Democrats who flipped Texas House seats in 2018 joined the $100,000 club with the amount of campaign cash that they raised for re-election races during their first year as lawmakers.

The freshman House Democrats who rode a blue wave to victories in the last election cycle rounded up more than $1.4 million combined in 2019 based on the reports that they filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

A dozen GOP colleagues who'll be highest on the Democrats' House battlefield hit list in 2020 reported contributions of $2.6 million during the past year.

While the most vulnerable Texas House Republicans raised almost twice as much money last year as the rookie Democrats who wrestled seats from the GOP in 2018, the disparity is considerable smaller now than the gap had been in the most competitive swing districts going into the last general election.

With President Donald Trump as a proven down-ballot drain in Texas, the House Republicans who the Democrats are targeting this time around will ostensibly need more money from a collective perspective than the Democratic rookies who the majority party has in its sights in 2020.

Most if not all of the dozen Democrats who picked up House seats in 2018 will be running as favorites this fall barring a dramatic shift in the national political winds between now and then. But Republicans could cut their overall losses by picking off Democratic rookies in the battle for the lower chamber that Democrats will take back with a net gain of eight or nine seats in November depending on the outcome of a special election later this month.

A pair of Democrats in the Dallas area - State Reps. John Turner and Julie Johnson - had the most successful fundraising efforts in the blue wave rookie class with contributions of $286,000 and $238,000 respectively last year.

Turner raked in almost $251,000 in the past six months while Johnson generated more than $159,000 from supporters during that span of time. Turner entered 2020 with more than $388,00 in the campaign bank.

But the only Republican in the suburban district where Turner is based has turned out to be one of the GOP's most prolific fundraisers in House races this year. GOP challenger Luisa Del Rosal - thanks in part to an early endorsement from Governor Greg Abbott - raised almost $353,000 in 2019 with contributions $192,000 in the past six months for a battle with Turner this fall.

Only two of the incumbent Republicans who are top targets for the minority party - State Reps. Morgan Meyer of Dallas and Jeff Leach of Allen - fared better in the campaign cash chase last year than Del Rosal

Johnson reported donations of more than $159,000 between the start of July and the end of December when she had nearly $201,000 in reserve for her first race for re-election since ousting a conservative incumbent Republican at the polls 14 months ago.

Freshmen Democratic State Reps. Vikki Goodwin of Austin and Erin Zwiener of Driftwood received $120,000 and $109,000 respectively in the past six months in districts that the GOP hopes to reclaim in November. Two other first-term Democrats from Williamson County on the northern edge of the Capital City - John Bucy of Austin and James Talarico of Round Rock - cracked the six-figure mark in 2019 after raising $102,000 and $81,000 respectively in the second half of last year.

But the three blue wave rookies who appear to have the toughest re-election races in store this year - Democratic State Reps. Gina Calanni of Katy, Jon Rosenthal of Houston and Michelle Beckley of Carrollton - failed to reach the $100,000 mark in 2019 as the Republicans' top targets in the competition for the lower chamber.

more to come ...

Copyright 2003-2019 Capitol Inside