Campaign Finance Reports

Looking into the crystal ball

Pundits and campaign professionals are looking to the first round of campaign finance reports for the 2010 primaries and general elections as the great predictor of election success. The reports cover the six months from July to December 2009, but with so many late filers and switched races, it's still unclear which candidates have the cash to be serious contenders.

In House District 47, all three Republican challengers to Democratic incumbent Rep. Valinda Bolton kick-started their campaigns with personal loans, but developer Paul Workman easily won the first lap of the fundraising race. Down in HD 50, since Democratic Rep. Mark Strama's two potential Republican challengers, Patrick McGuin­ness and Ryan Lambert, only filed their initial treasurer's reports Jan. 4, neither has to file until the 30-day reports are due.

As for the primary-free Republicans, there's less immediate pressure to fill the coffers. With only $2,625 cash on hand, Dan Neil lags far behind incumbent Rep. Democrat Donna Howard's reserves of $138,199. Similarly, Marilyn Jackson has only $550 on hand to take on Rep. Eddie Rodriguez in November. However, as a board member of the GOPAC-TX Republican fundraising machine, Neil may have easy access to big donors come November. State Senate hopeful Mary Lou Serafine will probably be looking for similar largesse: With nothing raised to date, Sen. Kirk Watson's $1.4 million is a high target for her to match.

Cash is in rich supply in the Republican governor's race. Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry wins the fundraising race, but lead challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has a bigger war chest. And Debra Medina's high media profile didn't transfer into big donations.

On the Democratic side, former Houston Mayor Bill White hammered lead opponent Farouk Shami, who has burned through both the $3 million he loaned his campaign and the $2.5 million for his exploratory committee. While White's $5.5 million war chest leaves him well behind the leading Republic­ans, his campaign has stressed the $2.5 million he raised in the month after he jumped from the low-profile U.S. Senate race to the high-profile governor's race.

The Democratic race for lieutenant governor is the mystery of the cycle. Surprisingly, Austin deli owner Marc Katz raised more money than former Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle, although Katz's total was boosted by a $5,200 donation to himself. That leaves Tex­as AFL-CIO mainstay Linda Chavez-Thomp­son as the dark horse: Like McGuin­ness and Lambert, she won't have to reveal her finances until Feb. 1.

Who's Got the Cash

HOUSE DISTRICT 47 (R)Cash RaisedCash on HandOutstanding Loans
Paul Workman$72,914$68,272$15,000
David Sewell$11,450$11,097$10,000
Holly White Turner$3,223$2,325$70,000
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)$6.1 million$12.3 million$0
Rick Perry (R)$7.1 million$11.6 million$0
Debra Medina (R)$191,005$57,645$0
Bill White (D)$6.2 million$5.5 million$0
Farouk Shami (D)$57,071$6,120$3 million
Ronnie Earle$1,681$28,097$0
Marc Katz$6,950$8,700$0
Linda Chavez-Thompson(no report filed)

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campaign finance reports, Valinda Bolton, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rick Perry, Bill White, election

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