Some Texas House Democrats need to get it in gear

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About a month ago, The Signal penned a piece urging Texas Democrats to “go big” and make an aggressive play to win the minimum of nine seats needed to recapture control of the Texas House of Representatives. With redistricting of congressional and legislative seats slated for the next session in Austin, gaining control of the Legislature’s lower chamber and thus breaking the Republican trifecta — holding both the House, Senate and Governor’s office — would be hugely consequential. And based on the number of House districts Beto O’Rourke either won or came very close, but where the Democratic House candidate fell short, winning the House is within reach.

While a number of groups outside Texas seem very keen on making a real push to win the Texas House in 2020, as we reported, some within the state have taken a less aggressive stance, instead stressing the importance of protecting the dozen new house seats won last cycle. Those two goals shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, in our view, but clearly any shot at actually winning the House means re-electing current members as well as gaining new ones.

Candidate recruitment is currently underway in targeted seats for pick-up in the Texas House, and some are already aggressively campaigning. Candidate filing for 2020 opens November 9 and closes December 9, 2019.

But what about those 12 House freshmen who will have to fight to hold their seats next year? The most recent campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission are a mixed bag. To be fair, legislators are prohibited from raising campaign funds during the legislative session, so there were only a few weeks during the filing period when they could collect contributions. 

Here is the total raised by each freshman House Democrat between January 1 and June 30, 2019, as well as their cash on hand:

12 Freshman House Democrats (Jan 01, 2019 – Jun 30, 2019)

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $273,824.89 

Michelle J. Beckley 

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $15,335.68

TOTAL CASH ON HAND… $28,910.03

Rhetta Bowers

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $3,615.82

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $24,848.58

John H. Bucy

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $22,651.84

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $25,965.51

Gina Calanni

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $8,791.53

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $15,328.17

Vikki Goodwin

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $17,055.13

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $36,850.29

Julie Johnson

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $78,164.19

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $108,961.47

Terry Meza

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $19,655.00

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $11,499.48

Ana-Maria Ramos

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $7,330.37

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $16,147.96

Jon Rosenthal

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $9,568.67

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $13,111.11

James Talarico

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $36,951.77

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $16,732.74

John Turner

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $35,446.02

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $209,892.52

Erin Zwiener

TOTAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS … $19,258.87

TOTAL CASH ON HAND … $27,507.86

The bottom line: some of these new Democratic House members are a whole lot more ready to defend their seats than others. There is still time for those who aren’t to make up financial ground, but it’s time to get it in gear.

Photo by Thinkstock/Getty

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