They May Be Underdogs, But Seven Texas Democrats Raised More Than Their GOP Opponents

Some Congressional candidates raised between two and four times more than their incumbent opponents, according to second-quarter fundraising reports.

By Rhonda FanningJuly 19, 2018 7:15 am| , ,

In what’s been described as the reddest of red states, it’s not Republicans raising eyebrows in the fundraising game. The Texas Tribune reports that with less than four months to go before midterm elections – and with candidates competing in every U.S. House race – Texas Democrats are seeing a lot of green. Second-quarter fundraising reports revealed seven Republican incumbents were outraised by their Democratic challengers.

Abby Livingston is the Washington bureau chief for the Texas Tribune. She says the amount of money that was raised by the challengers is mind-blowing.

“The Democrats have been raising piles of money – I’ve never seen anything like this,” she says, “Some of them are [by] a few hundred thousand dollars.”

In one Dallas race, Chairman Pete Sessions was outraised by about $400,000 by former NFL player Colin Allred. However, the most stunning reveal in the second-quarter numbers was House Appropriations Committee member John Carter – who was outraised by MJ Hegar. She took in $1.1 million after a campaign video went viral.

Livingston also noticed one Democratic candidate, Lizzie Fletcher, received more donations of smaller amounts of money, whereas her incumbent competitor John Culberson received a lot more money from a smaller number of corporate PACs.

“Corporate PACS usually have a policy, ‘We don’t give to challengers – we only give to incumbents’ and so they’re hitting their max,” she says, “So what can happen is Fletcher might be able to go back to some of her donors and ask for more – where Culberson is already maxed out.”

Livingston says there is a caveat for those on the Democratic side who are excited by the reports.

“There is no doubt that Republicans are going to have an incredible amount of money in Texas and elsewhere,” Livingston says, “…But the sense among Democrats is like, ‘Hey for the first time we’re actually in it – we’re not getting completely blown away – we’re in the money fight at least.’”

Watching fundraising has trained Livingston to see whose team is organized and has enthusiasm. However, she is unsure if there will be a Democratic uprising at the polls. Outside Texas – there are super PACs who could save candidates who have been outraised – but it affects other parts of the country in return.

“If those groups have to come in and spend money in the Austin media market to save John Carter – that is money that is being pulled out of other TV media markets for other members of Congress elsewhere in the country,” Livingston says, “There’s a very real scenario that even as some Texas congressional candidates on the Democratic side lose those races, they might actually help win races elsewhere in the country.”

Written by Amber Chavez.