WASHINGTON – Midnight marked the deadline for Texas' members of Congress to file their campaign fundraising and spending reports with the Federal Election Commission.
The documents, which are filed quarterly, offer insights into the health of an incumbent's re-election campaign and explain how they spend their cash. While some are scrambling just to keep their seats, others are "team players" — they're in safe districts and are raising and spending cash to help their friends.
Here are a handful of reports that caught our eye:
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio:
- The Texas Tribune reported two weeks ago that Hurd’s haul was expected to exceed $500,000. But once the dollars were counted, he ended up raising even more — $529,000, and reported over $505,000 in cash on hand. These are monster numbers, putting him near the top of fundraising among fellow Republicans in similarly competitive districts. Hurd faces a re-election rematch against former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine. Gallego announced his campaign after the first-quarter fundraising deadline, so he only turned in nominal dollars, but he's expected to have a strong second quarter.
- Hurd’s donors include a number of high-profile Texans: former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm; his seat’s former occupant, Republican Henry Bonilla; GOP operative Karl Rove; and noteworthy donors John L. Nau III, Richard Weekley and Red McCombs.
- Hurd’s FEC report reflects the regard fellow Republicans in Washington hold for him — and how invested the national party is in keeping one of its three African-American federal officeholders in place. About 30 members of Congress donated to Hurd, including six members of the Texas delegation.
- Hurd also paid off $35,000 of debt to himself that he carried over from his 2014 campaign.
U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi:
- Farenthold improved his financial footing from the end of the year, when he had $47,000 in the bank. He raised $161,000 and reported $117,000 in cash on hand. He accomplished this with the help of Austin-based GOP fundraiser Susan Lilly, according to his report.
- U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, donated $2,500 to his re-election campaign. Democrats are giving serious consideration to investing in a race against Farenthold, even though it is Republican territory. Farenthold is facing legal issues that could complicate his re-election plans.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio:
- Castro raised $150,000 and reported about $304,000 in cash on hand. He donated $20,000 of that sum to the House Democratic campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer recently elevated Castro within the House Democratic Caucus. With this new role as chief deputy whip, the sophomore’s fundraising expectations within his party are likely to increase.
U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth:
- Granger raised $226,000 and reported $187,000 in cash on hand. She is a high-ranking Republican who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which usually means higher obligations to the House Republican campaign arm. She came out of the gate early and strong, donating $63,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler:
- Gohmert had a lethargic haul with a high burn rate. He raised about $20,000 but spent $54,000. The six-term congressman reported $138,000 in cash on hand. Also of interest in his report: He spent a substantial amount of money — $4,330 — on pens.
Patrick Svitek contributed to this report