Elections 2022Fundraising Frontrunners Emerge in Texas’ Open Congressional Races

The latest campaign finance reports show where candidates in Texas’ open congressional races stand.
February 1, 2022
Current officeholders and candidates for Congress were required by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to file reports this week covering contributions and expenditures for the fourth quarter of 2021.

This is the first filing since the period for candidates to file with the secretary of state for a place on the ballot came to a close in December. Federal candidates only need to file one more campaign finance report before the March 1, 2022 primary election.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02) were again at the top of the list for fundraising, each pulling in over $2 million.

Other incumbents who raised a significant amount of money include Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13) with $1.2 million; Texas newest congressman, Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX-06), with $985,000; and embattled Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) with $697,000.

But in addition to incumbents who pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars, there were a number of candidates competing in open congressional seats who raised a significant amount of funds to gain an edge over their opponents.

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Texas’ 1st Congressional District

With Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01) now running for attorney general, four Republicans are competing to fill the East Texas seat.

Touting a long list of endorsements including Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran has been seen as the frontrunner in the race and the fundraising numbers reflect that.

Moran reported $343,000 in receipts for the Q4 period, spending only $24,000.

The candidate with the next largest amount raised was John Porro, who reported $41,000 in receipts, followed by oil rig worker Aditya Atholi with $22,000.

No report from the fourth candidate, Joe McDaniel, was available.

Texas’ 8th Congressional District

A large field of candidates is competing in the race for the open, Republican-leaning seat that includes portions of Harris, Montgomery, Walker, San Jacinto, and Polk counties.

Much of the attention, though, has been focused on the Crenshaw-backed candidate, Morgan Luttrell, and the Cruz-backed candidate, Christian Collins.

Like Crenshaw, Luttrell had one of the largest fundraising reports out of every Texas congressional candidate: $1.2 million.

That total, added to his large hauls in the preceding two quarters, brought his war chest total to $1.6 million. During the fourth quarter, he also had the largest spending out of any candidate in the race at a total of $237,000.

Though much smaller in comparison to Luttrell, Collins still raised a sizable haul of $334,000.

Other Republican candidates to file reports include Jonathan Hullihan with a reported $56,000 raised, Dan McKaughan with $18,000, Taylor Whichard with $10,000, and Jessica Wellington with $7,000.

Texas’ 15th Congressional District

The district located in South Texas is currently held by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15), who is running in Texas’ 34th Congressional District after his own was redrawn to become more competitive and possibly swing to Republicans.

Gonzalez’s previous Republican challenger, Monica De La Cruz, was near the top of the list of fundraising out of all Texas congressional candidates with a reported $559,000 raised.

With her previous hauls, her spending of $355,000 in the last quarter still left her with $626,000 cash-on-hand, solidifying her spot as the frontrunner in the race.

De La Cruz faces competition in the GOP primary from several other candidates, though, including businessman Mauro Garza who has buoyed his war chest with $283,000 in self loans throughout the cycle.

In the fourth quarter, Garza reported raising $62,000 outside of loans, bringing his cash-on-hand to a total of $388,000.

In the Democratic primary, John Villarreal Rigney leads with a cash-on-hand total of $151,000 thanks entirely to a self loan in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Ruben Ramirez reported $108,000 in receipts, Eliza Alvarado reported $75,000, and Michelle Vallejo reported $66,000.

Texas’ 30th Congressional District

In Dallas, state Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) appeared to be the frontrunner for Texas’ 30th Congressional District when she received an endorsement from retiring Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30).

But two other Democrats in the race outraised Crockett: Abel Mulugheta, who has been the chief of staff for state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), and Jane Hope Hamilton, who has been the chief of staff for Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX-33).

Mulugheta raised the most, reporting a total of $253,000. Also spending $66,000 in the fourth quarter, his total cash-on-hand going into the new year was $187,000.

Hamilton raised $113,000, spent $76,000, and reported $71,000 cash-on-hand.

Crockett’s total was near Hamilton’s, with a reported $101,000 raised. She spent $21,000 in the fourth quarter and ended with $80,000 cash-on-hand.

Other Democrats to file reports include Jessica Mason with $65,000 reportedly raised, Keisha Williams-Lankford with $15,000, Barbara Mallory Caraway with $15,000, and Vonciel Jones Hill with $12,000.

Texas’ 35th Congressional District

Two candidates have gained momentum in the race for the district connecting Austin and San Antonio: former Austin City Councilman Greg Casar and state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin).

Casar reported the largest haul in the district, touting a total of $468,000 raised. After spending $112,000 in the fourth quarter, Casar reported entering 2022 with $356,000 cash-on-hand.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, reported raising $251,000 in the period with $31,000 spent, leaving him with $220,000 cash-on-hand.

A third candidate in the race, Rebecca Viagrin, reported raising $47,000.

No report was available for the fourth candidate, Carla Joy Sisco.

Texas’ 38th Congressional District

Besides the aforementioned candidates and officeholders, the only other Texas congressional candidate to raise over $1 million was Wesley Hunt, who is running in the newly created Republican-leaning Houston district.

Hunt, who ran a competitive challenge against Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07) in the last election cycle, reported raising just over $1 million in the last quarter and spent $504,000. With his fundraising in the previous quarters, he entered the new year with $1.6 million cash-on-hand, giving him the clear financial lead in a crowded field of candidates.

Only one other candidate, Mark Ramsey, had six figures of cash-on-hand. Thanks to a self-loan of $101,000 and some other contributions, he reported a total of $104,000 cash-on-hand at the beginning of 2022.


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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.