January 20, 2020

Republican Faces Another Calf Roper with Rocker Pal
and Massive War Chest in Primary with Sizzle Potential

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Texas Fundraising
Primary Election 2020

House Races to Watch
Republican Incumbents
July-December 2019
Cash December 31

Cody Johnson (R)
House District 59
Jan 15 Report: $32,375
Total Donations: $98,406
Campaign Loans: $365,000
Cash on Hand: $397,375
Chris Paddie (R-Inc)
House District 9
Jan 15 Report: $303,772
Total Donations: $329,572
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $313,447
Drew Darby (R-Inc)
House District 72
Jan 15 Report: $189,089
Total Donations: $198,089
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $899,434
Briscoe Cain (R-Inc)
House District 128
Jan 15 Report: $125,891
Total Donations: $143,548
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $133,616
Jared Patterson (R-Inc)
House District 106
Jan 15 Report: $128,336
Total Donations: $138,796
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $103,935
J.D. Sheffield (R-Inc)
House District 59
Jan 15 Report: $104,696
Total Donations: $113,796
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $91,805
Dan Flynn (R-Inc)
House District 2
Jan 15 Report: $87,929
Total Donations: $101,548
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $27,062
Dennis Paul (R-Inc)
House District 129
Jan 15 Report: $85,621
Total Donations: $91,096
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $116,486
Geanie Morrison (R-Inc)
House District 30
Jan 15 Report: $69,736
Total Donations: $86,336
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $327,560
Shelby Slawson (R)
House District 59
Jan 15 Report: $33,410
Total Donations: $33,760
Campaign Loans: $50,000
Cash on Hand: $51,905
James Trombley (R)
House District 106
Jan 15 Report: $45,584
Total Donations: $45,584
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $20,819
Dwayne Collins (R)
House District 2
Jan 15 Report: $8,900
Total Donations: $8,900
Campaign Loans: $25,000
Cash on Hand: $23,951
Ryan Lee (R)
House District 129
Jan 15 Report: $10,720
Total Donations: $10,720
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $5,879
Bryan Slaton (R)
House District 2
Jan 15 Report: $4,958
Total Donations: $4,958
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $1,457
Bob Hoskins (R)
House District 128
Jan 15 Report: $4,575
Total Donations: $4,575
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $3,804
Mark Williams (R)
House District 9
Jan 15 Report: $2,500
Total Donations: $2,500
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $2,500
Vanessa Hicks-Callaway (R)
House District 30
Jan 15 Report: $1,114
Total Donations: $1,114
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $684
Lynette Lucas (R)
House District 72
Jan 15 Report: $265
Total Donations: $265
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $263
Source: Texas Ethics
Commission

A three-way fight race that features the most heavily-armed primary challenger on the Texas House battlefield has the potential to be the only truly competitive first-round battle for the lower chamber on the Republican side of the aisle in 2020 based on the flow of cash to legislative campaigns last year.

But the race for the Central Texas seat that GOP State Rep. J.D. Sheffield wants to keep is unfolding like a blast from the past with diamond-studded spurs in a district where House hopeful Cody Johnson seems like a reincarnation of the former lawmaker who the incumbent ousted at the primary polls eight years ago.

Sheffield - a Gatesville physician who's seeking fifth term in the Capitol's west wing - appeared to be facing a formidable challenge when Stephenville Republican Shelby Slawson launched a bid last spring in House District 59.

But Johnson's emergence as a candidate a month later has given the GOP primary in HD 59 a distinct déjà vu feel in light of the amazing amount of similarities that he shares with current Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller - a Stephenville Republican who won the statewide post two years after Sheffield knocked him out of the House.

Johnson - like Miller - is a rodeo cowboy who specializes in roping calves. Miller and Johnson both have good friends who are aging rock music stars in Ted Nugent and Stephen Tyler respectively. Nugent has served as Miller's campaign manager and most well-known supporter and fan.

Tyler - the leader of the legendary hard rock band Aerosmith - has been a Johnson associate in the western fashion industry and ally in charitable causes as well. Johnson and Miller are both political conservatives with a penchant for donning cowboy hats in the public arena and the pictures they post on their campaign web sites and other advertising materials.

While Slawson is an attorney who'd planned to run to the right of the relatively moderate incumbent, Johnson might have complicated those plans considerably as a second primary foe who's had twice as much money for the race as Sheffield and her combined.

Johnson has amassed the largest war chest for a House candidate so far after loaning him campaign $365,000 that he's topped off with more than $98,000 in contributor cash since he started raising funds for the HD 59 race seven months ago.

State Rep. Chris Paddie of Marshall has been the only incumbent for the current majority party in the same money league with Johnson in a contested primary with donations from supporters of almost $330,000 in the past year.

While Carthage Republican Mark Williams has raised a grand total of $2,500 as Paddie's only primary opponent, Sheffield finds himself in a fight for political survival with a pair of opening round rivals who'd had close to a half-million dollars between the two of them in less than a year on the campaign trail.

Slawson has mixed $50,000 in loans with $34,000 that she's rounded up from supporters since taking aim at Sheffield in May. Sheffield hasn't been a slouch in the fundraising derby himself with almost $114,000 in contributions that he reported to the Texas Ethics Commission in 2019.

Sheffield entered January with a campaign account balance of nearly $92,000 compared to almost $52,000 that Slawson had on hand at the start of the year. But those sums are drops in the bucket when sized up against Johnson's campaign surplus of more than $397,000 on the final day of December.

Sheffield captured the HD 59 seat in 2012 when he unseated Miller in a GOP primary runoff with almost 55 percent of the vote. Miller had led Sheffield by a single percentage point in the initial primary election in a field that included a third Republican.

Conservatives have been trying and failing to take Sheffield out ever since. Sheffield defeated primary challenger Chris Evans in 2018 with almost 58 percent of the vote in the district that he represents where three out of every four voters have been Republicans.

 

Copyright 2003-2020 Capitol Inside