Elections 2020FederalBeto Struggles, Abbott Soars in Second-Quarter Campaign Fundraising

With the release of second-quarter fundraising numbers, the prospects are shifting for these Texas candidates and lawmakers.
The recently released second-quarter fundraising numbers provide a closer look at how candidates are performing as the 2020 election cycle continues.

With two Democratic presidential candidates from Texas in the running and Democrats targeting six congressional seats in Texas, the political landscape is heating up.  

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro reported second-quarter fundraising numbers of $3.6 million and $2.8 million respectively. 

In contrast, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) raised $21.5 million and $19.1 million in the same time period. 

O’Rourke gained national attention during his U.S. Senate run last year against Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The small difference between O’Rourke and Castro’s fundraising numbers indicates that Castro has actually improved his posture following the first presidential debate–in which he criticized O’Rourke for not supporting his proposal to decriminalize illegal immigration. 

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When looking at congressional seats in Texas, there are six seats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has explicitly chosen to target this election cycle.

Incumbent Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) currently leads his challengers with a fundraising haul of $646,000, outraising all of his current Democratic opponents combined. Democrats Shannon Hutcheson, Mike Siegel, and Pritesh Gandhi raised $324,000, $104,000, and $180,000 respectively. 

Freshman Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21), who has emerged as a high-profile member of the House Freedom Caucus, reported a fundraising total of $412,000. One Democratic challenger, Jennie Lou Leeder, has thus far entered the race. 

However, it was reported on Thursday, July 18, that former state senator and one-time gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis also plans on running against Roy. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) intends to hold a fundraiser for Davis in Washington D.C. next week.

Davis gained national attention in 2013 after holding a 13-hour filibuster in an attempt to block a pro-life bill.

Longtime Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX-22) was outraised in the last reporting period by Democratic opponent, Sri Preston Kularni, who raised $421,000 in comparison to Olson’s $378,000. Nyanza Moore is also running as a Democratic candidate in that congressional district, but only brought in $30,000.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23) currently leads the overall money battle against his Democratic opponent, Gina Ortiz Jones, after posting a $700,000 second quarter. However, it’s worth noting that Jones raised $588,000 in a much shorter amount of time. 

She previously ran against Hurd in 2018, where she came within just 926 votes of defeating him.

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) was outraised by Democratic opponent Kim Olson, who raised $279,000 to his $225,000. Notably, Olson ran for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in 2018 and has quickly emerged as the front runner. 

Another Democratic hopeful for the district, Crystal Fletcher, also performed relatively well with a fundraising total of $106,000.

And incumbent Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31) raised a total of $351,000, in comparison to his Democratic opponents, Christine Mann and Murray Holcomb. Mann raised $42,000 and Holcomb raised $36,000, indicating a strong fundraising lead for Carter at present.

Carter faced a tougher than expected election last year against MJ Hegar, who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Sen. John Cornyn.

Also noteworthy, though not on the ballot in 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott raised $12.1 million during the “moratorium” – the 14 day period in which fundraising is allowed for state-level elected officials after the legislative session and before the first fundraising deadline post sine die. 

A prolific fundraiser, Abbott’s total is interesting when viewed in light of O’Rourke and Castro’s fundraising numbers.

As presidential hopefuls, O’Rourke and Castro raised approximately one-third of the amount of money in three months that Governor Abbott raised in a mere 2-week period.

However, campaign finance limitations vary significantly at the state and federal level. And unlike Abbott, both O’Rourke and Castro are competing in a 24 candidate field.


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Sarah McConnell, Reporter for The Texan

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.