State lawmakers only had nine days in June to raise money this year, but some were able to amass tens of thousands of dollars for re-election races next year.
The short fundraising period was due to the freeze on officeholders’ fundraising during the regular legislative session. But some lawmakers who are facing challengers in 2016 made a big fundraising push in that time.
So did candidates looking to challenge them, who because they do not hold office were not required to abide by the freeze.
Here are some of the top races we’re looking at:
1) Two GOP representatives are facing off to replace state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, with David Simpson of Longview outraising his colleague Bryan Hughes of Mineola in the nine-day period. Simpson raised roughly $143,000 and spent about $38,000, putting his cash on hand at almost $291,000. Hughes, meanwhile, raised almost $41,000 and spent just over $29,000. Hughes’ cash on hand stands at about $122,500.
2) Another outgoing senator leaving an open seat is Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, where the field hasn’t fully developed. But Dawn Buckingham, an ophthalmologist who will be among the candidates in the GOP primary, loaned herself $500,000 to kickstart a war chest of almost $546,000. She raised about $48,000 and spent about $9,500.
3) On the Democratic side, state Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio could see a rematch with state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer. Menéndez beat Martinez Fischer in a special election earlier this year to replace former state Sen. Leticia van de Putte.
4) State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, didn’t raise any money during the 9-day period but has almost $675,000 in cash on hand. If he runs as expected, Cook would face Thomas McNutt, whose family owns the Collin Street Bakery. McNutt raised about $104,000 and has more than $41,000 in the bank.
5) Geren has announced he’ll seek re-election and will face Bo French, who was a business partner of Chris Kyle, the late Navy SEAL sniper whose story inspired the movie American Sniper.
6) Another House incumbent facing a challenge is state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, who faces former state Rep. Hugh Shine. Shine has raised about $125,000 and loaned himself $30,000. White, meanwhile, raised about $7,700 and has about $7,600 in the bank, spending roughly $30,000 this year.
7) State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, will be challenged by Brent Graves, a land broker and auctioneer from Stephenville. Graves and Sheffield each raised about $9,500 this year, but Sheffield’s $40,000 war chest gives him an advantage over Graves, who has about $1,600 in cash on hand.