We've launched a simple new data application that details $150 million in campaign fundraising and spending by the major-party candidates since January 2009.
The app allows users to scan a chart of the top fundraisers on the ballot or filter the chart by selecting specific candidates, races or candidate types (incumbents, challengers, etc). Viewing the data this way reveals some interesting tidbits:
• As expected, the top statewide elected officials — and the strongest gubernatorial challengers — led the list in both spending and fundraising. But House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, raised about $2.8 million, even though he doesn't have a Republican primary challenger or a Democratic opponent this fall. Comptroller Susan Combs, who also doesn't have a major-party opponent, collected more than $1.7 million. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison raised and spent more than anyone in her bid for governor.
• Two candidates who flirted with campaigns for higher office last year raised large sums. Some thought state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, might run for governor or some other statewide office. He's staying in the Legislature, but still collected more than $400,000. State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who considered a run for attorney general, raised more than any rank-and-file member of the lower chamber: $733,000.
• Then, of course, there are the competitive races. State Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, is facing a strong primary challenge by J.M. Lozano. She raised $423,000, more than any other House Democrat, a sizable chunk of which came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform. State Rep. Chuck Hopson, who switch parties to become a Republican, now faces a competitive primary. He raised $344,000. And Eva Guzman, the newly appointed justice to the Texas Supreme Court, pulled in $507,000 in her primary against Rose Vela.