Monday, July 21, 2008

The political money race mid-year snapshot

Texas Weekly has the Mid-year money report on Congress, Texas Senate and Texas House races. Statewide, Michael Williams' opponent only has $125 cash on hand, so he's got no trouble at all.

Key Congressional and state Senate races:

McCaul is ahead, good news for him. Up against incumbent Lampson in DeLay's old district, Pete Olson has lower cash on hand post primary, but he can and should win it with enough financial support. The Congressional numbers are showing a disturbing national trend, where the special interest PACs have poured the money into the Democrat coffers, helping them have a big funding advantage overall. This is reflected in several races shown here. I mentioned this phenomenon in the post Larson versus the PAC-man. The best we can hope for is that in many cases, like the Culberson race, it will not matter. Alas, in the Larson - Rodriguez race, the Democrat money advantage may well it out of reach this go around, despite it being a swing district with a not-very-good incumbent.

The state Senate has good news in that Chris Bell has not gotten his funding act together yet. The risk is that this high-profile former Gov candidate might steal the seat due to his profile and due to the fractured GOP field, despite the 15% GOP advantage in 2006. But other possibly vulnerable seats do not look like they are showing anything to be concerned about.

Here's the state House numbers for key seats:

Opportunities for Republican pickups can be found in HD-11, HD-17 (Klienschmidt), HD-85, HD-97, and HD-107, (Keffer v Dem incumbent Vaught). In all cases, the Republicans have a double-digit voter affiliation advantage (31% in HD-11) and are financially competitive or ahead. Locally, Donna Keel in HD-47 and Bryan Daniel of HD-52 are behidn but competitive financially; they could use help. Valinda Bolton has been an extreme leftist and has been undistinguished record. With her low fundraising numbers, she looks vulnerable should Republicans make an effort there.

One possible vulnerable Republican seat in the list is Dee Margo, HD-87, but Margo is ahead in the money race, $108,000 to $37,000. Tony Goolsbey of HD-102 is also way ahead. So it does not look like there is much opportunity for Democrats on this list reflected in their money raising, with the exception of HD-52, which Krusee almost lost in 2006 and bowed out of this cycle; they will be gunning for HD-52, hoping to extend their gains in Travis into Williamson.

HD-144 Republican Legler looks behind in this money count. $0 on hand. He'll need more in this open race. And is Hubert Vo (D - Slumlord of Houston) the master of funny money or what? Expenditures higher than contributions, yet he has $100,000 cash on hand. With Vo's ordinance-violating properties plastered on the Houston Chronicle last year, and his record of campaign ethics violations, he's a disaster of a State Rep; I would think Greg Meyers could take him out with a little help.

My take, a summary: With 6 or more GOP possible state House pickups and only 1 or 2 Dem pickups, all in GOP-friendly districts, it looks ripe for plus year for Republicans in the House, depending on how the stars align at the Federal level. McCain will win Texas, but it will matter to these races if it's a single digit win as he loses the election or a 20 digit plus win in Texas as McCain wins nationally. Both are possible as of now. I don't see any of the Republican state Senators going to defeat, and the only possible upset would be Chris Bell in SD-9, if the GOP screws it up enough. The only Congressional seat that will likely change hands would be the Lampson-Olson race, although Legler has a shot, albeit long. McCaul and Culberson will win their races as their opponents spend a lot money failing to repeat the magic of 2006. Despite the clarion call for change, most incumbents will win, as usual.


MJSamuelson said...

I'd keep an eye on Kim Brimer in Fort Worth - a Republican who has governed like a Democrat (for the most part), and who has a very high profile opponent in Democrat Wendy Davis. That's a Senate seat in play for sure.

Randy A. Samuelson said...

Both Kim Brimer and Mike Jackson are in trouble in their Senate re-election bids. Brimer tried to sue his opponent off the ballot and failed.

In the State House, there are many conservatives that need fundraising support. Bryan Daniel and Donna Keel are in our own backyard.

Anonymous said...

These GOP State Senators may have a fight on their hands, I really haven't looked closely, but my point is that it doesn't seem to be reflected in money parity in their opponents. They are way ahead money-wise, and the district ORVIS is high to boot in those.

The money=viability linkage suggests HD-52 is a big concern, since it is clear the Dems are putting some money there.