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Two views of Democratic fundraising

Positive:

For the first time in a generation, there is a Democrat running for Congress in every single district in the state.

Most of those candidates vying to unseat Republicans will likely lose. Many are running in districts where President Donald Trump and the GOP incumbent won by double digits in 2016. But campaign finance reports show that a significant number of these Democrats are running professional campaigns, hiring staff and making their presence known in their communities.

And in this effort, they are bringing big money into the state.

Back in 2016, Texas U.S. House Republican candidates raised an aggregate sum of $32.3 million at this point in the cycle, nearly three times as much as Texas U.S. House Democratic candidates, who raised $11.4 million, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of campaign finance reports.

Two years later, Texas U.S. House Republican candidates have raised an aggregate sum of $34.8 million so far this cycle, similar to where they were in 2016. Democrats in Texas meanwhile, have nearly doubled their haul, having raised $21.8 million.

These figures do not reflect the more than $30 million raised so far in the state’s high profile race for U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

And negative:

Four years ago, Wendy Davis was touring Texas like a rock star as she ran for governor. Sporting the same pink Mizuno sneakers she wore for her famous filibuster against a bill to restrict abortions, she was greeted by 1,600 cheering fans here, many of them wearing “Turn Texas Blue” T-shirts.

She had more than $10 million in the bank of the $37 million she would raise in her bid to become the first Democrat elected to statewide office in Texas in 20 years.

Now, as former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez runs for the same office against Gov. Greg Abbott — who beat Davis by more than 20 percentage points — the crowds have often been scant. Valdez’s statewide name ID remains slim. Her bank account has been skinnier than a coyote in the desert.

Nevertheless, Democratic Party insiders expressed little concern as Valdez on Tuesday reported raising $742,250 in political contributions in the past seven months. As of June 30, she had $222,050 in the bank.

Instead of trying to build Valdez vs. Abbott into a marquee race, Democrats are focusing much of their attention — and campaign cash — on down-ballot and congressional races that have drawn a record number of candidates.

They’re hoping for what they call the reverse coattails effect — essentially they’re banking on well-funded Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke and the Democrats running for Congress, state and local office to help generate turnout for statewide candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, instead of the other way around.

[…]

“Wendy (Davis) inspired optimism and enthusiasm, and she raised enough money to mount a top-flight campaign,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones, who analyzed the 2014 race and has been watching Valdez’s sputtering campaign — now at its halfway point approaching the November general election.

“This campaign is an embarrassment to everyone involved — Lupe Valdez, the Democratic Party, even Greg Abbott. At this point, I don’t think anyone could imagine Lupe Valdez as governor. You can’t create an alternate universe where she could win.”

But Jerry Polinard, a longtime political scientist at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, said the party’s strategy could pay dividends in the future “if they’re successful in some of their down-ballot races. That could lay a groundwork for the future.”

If not, “that’ll be the party’s next big problem,” he said. “I’ve never seen a year like this in Texas at the top of the state ballot.”

I think you know where I stand on this. I’ll say again, Beto O’Rourke has raised a lot more money by this point than Davis did, and as we well know the Congressional challengers are orders of magnitude ahead of where they were in 2014. Yes, it would be nice if Lupe Valdez and Mike Collier could stay within the same zip code as Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick. But expand your field of vision a little, all right?

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5 Comments

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    Outside the topic but Republicans and their Russian handlers are working to suppress voters

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/17/opinions/russian-bots-2018-midterm-elections-opinion-love/index.html

  2. Christopher Busby says:

    I think the comparisons to Wendy Davis are facial and intellectually dishonest. Beto has started a movement across the state that Wendy Davis never could. Wendy’s marqee issue of abortion rights was a poor rallying call to get Texas moderate and minority democrats excited to vote.

    Beto is driving enthusiasm across the left to middle spectrum and getting young voters excited. Moderate Rs are fleeing their party across the state and the latino community is pissed at 45. Most importantly Texas is a fairly inelastic state, the ballots are long and very few Texans are inclined to split. Whatever Beto’s margin Lupe will be about 5 points behind and probably be at the tail end of the statewide dems.

    The statewide dems need to close an approximately 10-20 point gap from previous years elections. Can they do it? Its a lot of ground to make up so its hard to say but you can take to the bank this will be the best year for dems since Ann Richards last won the governorship.

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    Agree with Busby, will add that Trump is our best friend this election. Just needs him to keep being himself, he can’t help it.

  4. Piotr says:

    We should invest in Nelson. He is the only Dem who has a chance of beeing elected this year for statewide office. Paxton is more vulnerable than Cruz.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Piotr you do that, I already gave to Beto and Lupe and two congressional candidates from Texas.