Battleground 2020Elections 2020Texas State Battleground Races Take Shape with Early Fundraising

Here's a rundown of how some contentious state-level campaigns are shaping up going into 2020 after the most recent fundraising numbers were released.
July 19, 2019

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The latest finance reports filed by candidates for state office with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) were released this week as campaigns throughout Texas continue to heat up.

These reports give insight into the fundraising capabilities and support of each candidate at this point in the cycle, particularly in battleground districts. Though, potential candidates will continue to be able to file to run until late this year. 

It’s worth noting that state-level leaders who are already elected to office only have a 14-day period following the legislative session to raise and accept funds prior to the July 15th deadline. 

Conversely, challengers who filed to run for office during the session are able to fundraise for this reporting period from the time they file for office until the deadline.

House District 108 incumbent Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), who barely won reelection with 220 votes in 2018, raised $156,000

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Meyer has already drawn three Democrat opponents, including his 2018 opponent Joanna Cattanach who raised $64,000, local activist Tom Ervin who raised $42,000, and former congressional candidate Shawn Terry who raised an impressive $235,000

Another contentious Dallas County race will involve a matchup between House District 112 Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson) and Brandy Chambers, who squared off in 2018. 

Button raised $30,000 and Chambers raised $29,000, nearly matching dollar for dollar, though Button boasts $541,000 cash on hand while Chambers has $32,000.

After yielding his House District 115 seat to Democrat Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton), former Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) announced this week he would not run for his old Dallas County seat. Johnson raised $78,000 this reporting period, and no Republican has announced to run against her at the time of publishing. 

In Houston, Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston) raised $10,000 while his two Republican opponents, attorney Mark McCaig and former city councilman Justin Ray raised $52,000 and $36,000 respectively. McCaig loaned himself $25,000, while Ray lent himself $2,500.

Rosenthal secured House District 135’s seat after he defeated incumbent Republican Gary Elkins in 2018. 

Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood), a freshman who turned House District 45 blue last cycle, shows $19,000 raised as of this reporting period. 

Republican challenger Carrie Isaac, wife to former state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) and non-profit leader, led the pack of GOP challengers with a $103,000 haul. Austin Talley, local businessman, and Bud Wymore, lawyer, raised $12,000 and $63,000 respectively. 

Austin-based House District 47 was flipped by Rep. Vikki Goodwin this last election cycle, and the freshman legislator raised $17,000 this period. 

Goodwin has already drawn four Republican opponents in Aaron Reitz, Don Zimmerman, Jennifer Fleck, and Jenny Roan Forgey. According to TEC, Reitz raised $23,000 (and loaned himself $10,025), Zimmerman raised $38,000, Fleck raised $19,000 (and loaned herself $21,000), and Forgey raised $37,000.

Some other likely contentious races will be for the seats of Reps. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), and Gina Calanni (D-Katy). Shaheen and Leach were both reelected by close margins, while Calanni flipped a seat formerly held by Rep. Mike Schofield.

Leach already has several Democrat opponents filed to run against him, but raised $186,000. Shaheen raised $35,000 but loaned himself a whopping $187,000, while Calanni raised $9,000 this reporting period.

Additionally, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced this week the launch of his new Texas Leads PAC, designed to support the reelection efforts of Republican incumbents only. This supports the claim he made earlier this year, saying he would not campaign against Democrat incumbents.

The group boasts $3 million dollars in its coffers, directly donated from Bonnen’s own campaign funds. 

As the national spotlight will no doubt continue to shine on Texas this election cycle, campaigns and fundraising will only continue to become more embattled.


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor at The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.