January 30, 2020

GOP Solon Who's Prohibitive Underdog Gets Off to Crawl
in Cash Scramble that Lucio Leads in Capitol's East Wing

Targeted House Incumbents GOP House Challengers
Texas House Open Races DEM House Challengers

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Texas Fundraising
General Election 2020

Senate Races to Watch
July-December 2019
Cash December 31

Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Inc)
Senate District 27
Jan 15 Report: $609,622
Total Donations: $614,162
Campaign Loans: $44,577
Cash on Hand: $31,972
Jane Nelson (R-Inc)
Senate District 12
Jan 15 Report: $448,849
Total Donations: $448,849
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $1,654,934
Roland Gutierrez (D)
Senate District 19
Jan 15 Report: $188,588
Total Donations: $296,613
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $109,337
Larry Taylor (R-Inc)
Senate District 11
Jan 15 Report: $226,116
Total Donations: $235,616
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $1,206,045
Pete Flores (R-Inc)
Senate District 19
Jan 15 Report: $185,300
Total Donations: $185,300
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $326,800
Xochil Peña Rodriguez (D)
Senate District 19
Jan 15 Report: $60,038
Total Donations: $60,038
Campaign Loans: $125,000
Cash on Hand: $106,347
Cesar Blanco (D)
Senate District 29
Jan 15 Report: $180,141
Total Donations: $181,316
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $311,023
Sara Stapleton-Barrera (D)
Senate District 27
Jan 15 Report: $5,384
Total Donations: $9,606
Campaign Loans: $157,850
Cash on Hand: $0
Ruben Cortez (D)
Senate District 27
Jan 15 Report: $78,338
Total Donations: $81,838
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $6,126
Borris Miles (D-Inc)
Senate District 13
Jan 15 Report: $52,650
Total Donations: $58,450
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $29,950
Susan Criss (D)
Senate District 11
Jan 15 Report: $15,920
Total Donations: $39,905
Campaign Loans: $7,979
Cash on Hand: $9,697
Freddy Ramirez (D)
Senate District 19
Jan 15 Report: $17,690
Total Donations: $17,690
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $5,576
Shadi Zitoon (D)
Senate District 12
Jan 15 Report: $3,550
Total Donations: $3,550
Campaign Loans: $2,250
Cash on Hand: $3,226
Richard Andrews (D)
Senate District 13
Jan 15 Report: $4,575
Total Donations: $4,575
Campaign Loans: $219
Cash on Hand: $3,849
Milinda Morris (D)
Senate District 13
Jan 15 Report: $260
Total Donations: $260
Campaign Loans: $1,250
Cash on Hand: $10,000
Melissa Morris (R)
Senate District 13
Jan 15 Report: $1,685
Total Donations: $1,685
Campaign Loans: $0
Cash on Hand: $298
Belinda Svetz (D)
Senate District 19
Jan 15 Report: $0
Total Donations: $0
Campaign Loans: $1,000
Cash on Hand: $0
Source: Texas
Ethics Commission

A rookie Texas Senate Republican got his fundraising apparatus off to a surprisingly slow start for a re-election race that's tantamount to an impossible mission on paper in a district where a pair of Democrats amassed six-digit war chests last year as the apparent primary frontrunners across the aisle.

A Democratic colleague who's one of the longest serving lawmakers in Texas seemed to approach his first serious challenge at the polls in years with a more obvious sense of urgency when he raised more campaign cash in 2019 than any other state senator on either side of the aisle for a primary fight with two formidable foes.

State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville rounded up almost $610,000 during the past two months when he topped off the funds from supporters with nearly $45,000 in loans for a bid for a new term in the face of opposition from Rio Grande Valley Democrats Ruben Cortez and Sara Stapleton-Barrera.

Two of the Legislature's most powerful members - Republican State Senators Jane Nelson of Flower Mound and Larry Taylor of Friendswood - reaped contributions of $449,000 and $236,000 respectively in 2019 for re-election campaigns in districts where several Democrats who want to replace them generated relatively minimal amounts of money last year.

But freshman State Senator Pete Flores of Pleasanton raised several thousand dollars less in the second half of 2019 than Democratic State Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio managed to do with contributions of almost $189,000 in the same span of time in his second bid for the Senate District 19 seat in the last two years.

But Flores didn't seem to be in a great hurry while Gutierrez hit the ground after the expiration of a legislative session donations ban when he rounded up more than $100,000 from supporters in the final two weeks of June. Flores failed to raise a dime during that time despite the herculean challenge that he faces as an incumbent Republican in a Democratic stronghold where his odds for survival are perilously low.

Democrat Xochil Peña Rodriguez - a former congressman's daughter who's also competing for a shot at Flores this fall - relied on a blend of donor dollars and family money in the form of loans to beef her campaign kitty last year with slightly more cash than the incumbent solon raised.

The SD 19 contender's father is Ciro Rodriguez - a former Democratic state representative who served a dozen years in the U.S. House Democrat in two separate districts before he was ousted by a Republican in 2010. The elder Rodriguez bounced back four years with his election to a post that he still holds as justice of the peace in Bexar County.

The ex-lawmaker's daughter sought to establish her credibility as a Senate candidate when she raised more than $60,000 from donors in the second half of last year while fueling her campaign with $125,000 in loans that he mother guaranteed. Gutierrez reported contributions to the state of almost $297,000 in 2019 before entering the SD 19 competition officially last fall.

Gutierrez and Rodriguez had $109,000 and $106,000 respectively in cash on hand at the start of January when Flores had almost $327,000 socked away for a race for a new term in a heavily-Democratic district where he was elected in a special election runoff in 2018. Gutierrez had been eliminated in the initial vote in the special SD 19 battle that Flores won in a monumental upset at a time when Democrats were bitterly divided.

But Rodriguez could pose more of a threat to Gutierrez than the incumbent himself in a district that Beto O'Rourke and Hillary Clinton carried by double-digit margins as the Democrats at the top of the Texas tickets in the last two election cycles.

Two other Democrats who filed to run in SD 19 didn't raise enough money last year to be regarded as serious contenders. The same could be said for Democratic candidates who had anemic fundraising efforts in the GOP-leaning districts where Nelson and Taylor will expect to win easily in November.

more to come ...

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