Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

October 24th, 2012:

30 Day campaign finance reports, selected legislative races

Here’s a sampling of 30 day finance reports from state legislative campaigns. I used the Back to Blue list as a starting point and added a few races of interest to me from there.

Dist Candidate Raised Spent Loan Cash ========================================================== SD10 Davis 843,878 346,466 0 1,537,783 SD10 Shelton 606,586 153,204 0 566,825 SD25 Courage 27,603 14,791 0 14,546 SD25 Campbell 566,920 592,332 90,000 7,407 HD12 Stem 29,228 23,325 0 24,566 HD12 Kacal 58,460 33,438 0 30,196 HD23 Eiland 134,051 80,923 0 101,419 HD23 Faircloth 92,890 46,816 30,000 43,089 HD26 Nguyen 12,051 22,808 0 10,840 HD26 Miller 45,765 27,995 1,000 9,496 HD34 Herrero 69,722 49,667 0 25,655 HD34 Scott 125,430 68,349 0 255,629 HD43 Toureilles 46,170 23,973 0 11,585 HD43 Lozano 260,590 185,421 0 89,770 HD45 Adams 48,020 25,800 36,000 32,241 HD45 Isaac 128,502 44,595 140,250 69,918 HD78 Moody 73,754 48,371 0 21,858 HD78 Margo 306,071 82,170 0 202,898 HD85 Olivo 9,738 3,490 2,150 10,143 HD85 Stephenson 34,696 16,146 0 21,677 HD102 Hancock 27,245 4,924 0 7,380 HD102 Carter 112,821 109,543 0 66,776 HD105 Robbins 24,687 36,999 1,505 30,583 HD105 H-Brown 123,449 68,244 52,615 87,997 HD107 Miklos 74,020 56,401 0 24,707 HD107 Sheets 280,354 96,777 0 146,778 HD114 Kent 121,236 89,824 0 132,748 HD114 Villalba 172,885 147,326 0 42,612 HD117 Cortez 48,015 44,610 1,844 18,620 HD117 Garza 52,559 72,669 0 62,371 HD118 Farias 51,015 34,925 0 25,482 HD118 Casias 23,730 21,714 0 852 HD134 Johnson 217,346 103,699 0 263,301 HD134 Davis 332,120 99,582 0 232,383 HD136 Stillwell 61,060 20,842 2,000 8,632 HD136 Dale 112,273 22,798 35,000 82,853 HD137 Wu 58,221 55,152 50,000 32,263 HD137 Khan 55,351 40,877 10,000 23,894 HD144 Perez 104,939 30,082 0 107,729 HD144 Pineda 77,357 49,460 0 33,428 HD149 Vo 38,665 27,632 45,119 48,768 HD149 Williams 134,990 56,342 1,500 74,222

Here’s a sampling of July reports for comparison. A few thoughts:

– I don’t think I’ve ever seen a greater disparity in amount raised and cash on hand as we see here with Donna Campbell. Campbell, of course, had a runoff to win on July 31, which covers the first month of this filing period, and a cursory perusal of her detailed report shows the vast majority of the action was in July, as you’d expect. I’d still have thought she’d collect more cash after the runoff, since she’s a heavy favorite to win in November. Assuming she does win, we’ll need to check out her January report from 2013.

– Overall, the Republicans have done a very good job of raising money to protect their vulnerable incumbents. The main exception to this is John Garza in HD117, though he still leads his opponent, Phillip Cortez. The difference between Rs and Ds on amount spent is a lot smaller, which may indicate that their strategy is to do a late blitz, or it may mean they’re just sitting on a lot of cash.

– Turncoat Rep. JM Lozano initially filed a report with almost no cash raised and no expenses listed. Apparently, he “forgot” over $250K in contributions. That total includes $100K from Associated Republicans of Texas, almost $68K from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, $25K from Texas Republican Representatives Campaign Fund, $6K from the Texas House Leadership Fund, $15K from Bob Perry, and just for good measure, $2K from Koch Industries. Hey, I’d want to forget about all that, too. Here’s his current corrected report; there may be another to come.

– After a somewhat anemic July report, Rep. Sarah Davis kicked into overdrive for this period. Ann Johnson, who has an ad I’ve seen a few times on the Headline News Network, did a pretty good job keeping pace, and still has a cash on hand advantage. I presume Davis has some ads running as well, since she got a $100K in kind contributions from Texans for Lawsuit Reform for TV advertising, but I have not seen any such ads myself. She also collected $100K total from Associated Republicans of Texas ($65K) and Texas Republican Representatives Campaign Fund ($35K), plus $20K from Bob Perry.

– Mary Ann Perez had the next most impressive haul after Ann Johnson, showing some very strong numbers for that open swing seat. I presume her strategy is the do a late push as well, given the cash she has on hand. And given the money they’ve sloshed around to so many other candidates, I’m surprised David Pineda hasn’t been the beneficiary of a few wads of dough from the usual suspects. We’ll see what his 8 day report looks like.

– If your eyes bugged out at Dianne Williams’ totals in HD149, I assure you that mine did as well. A closer look at her detailed report shows that nearly $115K of her total came from one person, a Mrs. Kathaleen Wall. Another $5K or so was in kind from various Republican PACs. Take all that out and her haul is much less impressive. The money is hers to spend, of course, it’s just not indicative of some broad-based support.

That’s all I’ve got. Anything interesting you’ve seen in the reports?

Everybody loves early voting now

From the County Clerk’s office:

The Chief Election Officer of the County, Stan Stanart, announced [Monday night] that Harris County voters set a new record for voting during the first day of Early Voting in person. 47,093 persons voted on Monday, shattering the November 2008 first day total of 39,201.

“We had a record breaking first day of Early Voting,” said County Clerk Stanart. “It is obvious that our message encouraging voters to vote early and avoid the issues of determining their Election Day voting location has been heard.” Due to redistricting, the County Clerk’s office estimates about 20 percent of the Election Day polling locations for Harris County voters have changed. Voters are encouraged to vote at any of the 37 early voting locations. Locations and times can be found at www.HarrisVotes.com.

Champion Forest Baptist Church led all early voting locations with 2,657 voters, the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center had 2,556 and Cypress Top Park had 2,291. The locations which experienced the least amount of traffic include Galena Park Library with 382 voters, Ripley House with 460 and Holy Name Catholic Church with 506. “I urge voters to check www.HarrisVotes.com for their personal sample ballot, Early Voting locations, ID requirements and Election Day locations before voting,” added Stanart.

“Early voting by mail is also at an all-time high and requests for ballots have broken records for Harris County,” asserted Stanart. The Clerk’s Office has received 82,946 requests for mail ballots exceeding the 2008 record of 80,861 requests, seven days before the October 30th deadline to request a mail ballot. As of Friday, 40,566 of the mail ballots sent to voters have been voted and returned to the Clerk’s Office.

To find more early voting information, voters can visit the Harris County Clerk’s Election website at www.HarrisVotes.com or call 713.755.6965.

Here’s my updated early vote-tracking spreadsheet, which includes the daily EV totals from 2004 and 2008 as well. Tuesday was even stronger than Monday, with 51,578 in person votes cast. That’s over 98,000 in person early votes already, which is over 142,000 when you include mail ballots. Wow. It’s a little tricky doing a straight comparison with 2004 and 2008, since EV locations change over the years, but you can get a good feel for where the vote is coming from. I strongly suspect that Republicans will do better in early voting this year than they did in 2008, mostly because they’ve been pushing it as relentlessly as Dems have been. The key question as always is what percentage of this is new voters, and what percentage is regular voters who have changed their habits. Dems grabbed that big lead in 2008 on the strength of early voting, then saw most of it slip away (in the case of a few candidates, all of it) because they pretty much ran out of voters by Election Day. Who’s got the new voters this year? Voter registration reached a new high this year.

Harris County’s voter roll topped 2 million Monday morning for the first time, county Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Don Sumners announced.

The precise tally of 2,003,436 represents a 80,852-voter increase since early September.

“The county’s still growing. If we look at it as a percentage of the population, it might not even be a big surprise,” Sumners said. “But I thought it was of interest that we had finally gone over the 2-million mark. We had been flirting with it for years.”

The previous record was set in mid-November 2008, also a presidential election year, when roughly 1.97 million people were registered.

An estimated 2.9 million of Harris County’s 4.1 million residents were 18 or older as of the 2010 Census. If that number is similar today, about 68 percent of the county’s voting-age residents are on the rolls.

Stan Stanart predicted turnout of a bit more than 1.2 million in this article, or about 61% of the total. The story says that would be an improvement of about a point over 2008, when turnout was 59.8%, but the election results page from 2008 put turnout at over 62%, so go figure. I’m going to hold off on such predictions for now, because we don’t know what the share of the final tally will be early voters. There were some rather giddy predictions made in 2008 based on the belief that early voting usually account for about half the final total. It wound up being about 63% of the final total in 2008. I will not be at all surprised to see it be a larger share this year. This may wind up being a good year to vote on Election Day if you want to avoid lines.

And while the GOP may do better in early voting, it looks like the Dems may do better in voting by mail.

As of Friday evening, 18,808 county residents had requested a mail ballot by returning applications sent to them by the county Democratic Party, and 3,567 more had returned applications mailed to them from other Democratic sources, for a total of 22,375.

That is compared with 26,591 voters who had returned mail ballot applications sent to them by the state Republican Party.

The numbers are far closer than in previous presidential years. In 2008, Republicans requested four times as many mail ballots as Democrats, and more than five times as many in 2004.

“A lot can happen between ‘I want to vote’ and ‘I’m going to go vote.’ We hurt ourselves, grandkids come over, who knows what,” said county Democratic Party Chairman Lane Lewis, who campaigned on the issue. “By running an effective vote-by-mail program, you are providing them with direct access, minimizing excuses and complications of them getting themselves to the polls and back.”

As you might expect, Harris County GOP Chair Jared is unimpressed by this. We’ll know who’s right when we see the final score. I noted this trend earlier, and as I said then, this may well be another example of shifting behavior rather than increasing overall turnout. Still, as HCDP Chair Lewis says, it can’t hurt.

On the city bonds

Here’s an overview of the city bond issues.

The city of Houston is asking voters on Nov. 6 for permission to borrow $410 million to shore up its parks, police stations, libraries, other government buildings and substandard housing.

Propositions A, B, C, D and E for the most part are what Mayor Annise Parker calls “housekeeping” the city does every four to six years to add to, expand, renovate or repair city buildings and other public property. None of them requires a tax increase to pay principal and interest that over decades could mount to an estimated $719 million.

However, the propositions draw voters into a debate over city debt that has largely been confined to the City Council table and a task force that last year examined the city’s long-term finances.

The borrowing is the lowest amount the city has asked the voters for in 30 years. In 2006, the ask was $625 million. Without the new bond measure, Parker explained, city government won’t be able to carry out its five-year plan to continue to fix leaky roofs, repair fire station foundations, renovate old libraries, repair swimming pools and demolish abandoned apartment buildings.

“It’s like a pre-qualification for a mortgage. That’s basic. We’re going to the voters and saying, ‘Can we borrow money in these categories?’ ” Parker said.

Opponents of the measures say it’s more like continuing a spending binge with a credit card.

As Mayor Parker said when I interviewed her about the bonds, for the most part these are projects that went through the CIP process and were approved by Council. This is how the city pays for projects like these – it’s how nearly every entity pays for capital improvement projects, since it’s exceedingly impractical to pay for them out of cash. There’s really nothing remarkable here, save perhaps for the extra dollops of debt hysteria.

Two more things to note. One is that Proposition E, which is listed on the ballot as being about “affordable housing efforts”, is really about paying for the demolition of derelict properties so that some better use can be made of the land. The other is that CM Oliver Pennington is quoted in the story as being a supporter of the propositions, he just thinks the city should have asked to borrow less than $410 million for them. This make him more than a supporter of the parks bond. Not that it really matters, I just like to nitpick.

Endorsement watch: For Ann Johnson

I noted on Monday that the Chron listed Ann Johnson as one of its endorsed candidates. Yesterday they wrote the endorsement editorial to go along with that.

Ann Johnson

The tea party turnout of 2010 gave Republican candidate Sarah Davis the narrow victory she needed to win in District 134, a prosperous swing district that covers areas from River Oaks to Meyerland and the Medical Center, as well.

Davis speaks about politics with a fiery passion, but her passion often seems aimed more at Washington than Austin.

She successfully navigated the minefield of wedge-issue votes that defined the previous legislative session – voting no on the sonogram bill, for example. But voters deserve a representative who doesn’t just avoid bad votes, but leads on good ones. We believe Democratic challenger Ann Johnson can be that sort of leader.

[…]

Issues like education and health care aren’t just matters of compassion, they’re necessary to ensure that Texas has the healthy, educated workforce we need to power our economy.

In this race, Ann Johnson is the better bet for Texas’ future.

It’s interesting to see the Chron buy into the “independent” image that Rep. Davis is peddling. As I did before, I would challenge them to come up with two bills of significance besides the sonogram bill on which David voted against her party. On Monday I saw for the first time a broadcast of Davis’ TV commercial, for which Texans for Lawsuit Reform bought her $100K worth of airtime. Not surprisingly, Davis pushes this idea hard, claiming to support public education despite voting to cut $10 billion from it and to oppose restrictions on women’s health care despite voting to de-fund Planned Parenthood and to kill the Women’s Health Program if Planned Parenthood is successful in its lawsuit against the state. It’s very simple: Sarah Davis was a reliable Republican vote in the 2011 legislature. Her record bears this out. You would think that a reliable Republican, running in a district drawn by Republicans to elect a Republican, would be willing to tout her Republican-ness for her re-election rather than try to obfuscate it. In the case of Rep. Sarah Davis, you would be wrong about that.

Anyway. The Chron made the right call with Ann Johnson, whose interview with me is here if you haven’t had the chance to listen to it. You can also watch this TV ad that Texas Parent PAC did on Johnson’s behalf:

And here’s that ad by the Johnson campaign that I’ve seen on Headline News:

In case you’re wondering, Bill White beat Rick Perry by a 51.0-47.7 margin in 2010. Maybe that’s why Davis is pressing her “independent” credentials. I guess I would too if I were her. Neil has more.

Finally, on a tangential note, the San Angelo Standard Times joins the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in endorsing Keith Hampton over Sharon Keller. Has anyone seen a newspaper endorse Keller yet? Again, this probably doesn’t matter much, but it could matter just enough.