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In Texas House races, vulnerable Republicans bolster financial standing

Endangered Republican lawmakers in Texas have strengthened their financial footing with just over a week until Election Day, according to campaign finance reports released Monday.

The south entrance of the Texas Capitol.

Vulnerable Republicans in the Texas House have strengthened their financial footing with just over a week until Election Day, according to new campaign finance reports. 

Of the fewer than a dozen GOP House members in danger this election cycle, almost every one took in more money than his or her Democratic rival, according to the reports, which cover the period from Sept. 30 to Oct. 29. The lone exception was in Houston-area House District 144, where GOP Rep. Gilbert Peña was easily bested in fundraising by Democratic challenger Mary Ann Perez, roughly $69,000 to $127,000. 

Overall, it's an improvement for vulnerable Republicans over the previous filing period, when three of them, including Peña, were out-raised by their Democratic opponents. Very few lawmakers in the 150-member Texas House are seen as endangered this November, with most being Republicans running for re-election in perennial swing districts.

Some Democratic challengers are still giving vulnerable Republican incumbents a run for their money, especially in North Texas. The highest-dollar showdown continues to be in House District 107, where GOP Rep. Kenneth Sheets raised approximately $304,000, compared to $244,000 for Democratic foe Victoria Neave. The money race was also relatively close in House District 105, home to the closely watched race between Republican Rep. Rodney Anderson and Democratic opponent Terry Meza.

The most improved fundraiser appeared to be Rep. John Lujan, a San Antonio Republican who took in roughly $120,000 in October after pulling together only $14,000 over the summer. His late-in-the-game haul was largely made up of in-kind contributions, including about $60,000 for direct mail and polling from the political arm of Texans for Lawsuit Reform. 

While the $120,000 tally allowed Lujan to blow past Democratic challenger Tomás Uresti in fundraising, Uresti was heading into the final week before Election Day with more cash on hand, approximately $17,000 to Lujan's $10,000. In at least one other race — House District 117 in the San Antonio area — the Republican incumbent also easily out-raised his Democratic challenger, but the Democrat had more money in the bank. 

In the state's only competitive congressional race, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, continued to hold a decisive financial advantage over Democratic challenger Pete Gallego. The latest reports in that contest, which cover the period from Oct. 1-19, show Hurd out-raised Gallego roughly $220,000 to $169,000 and entered the final weeks before Election Day with a 3-to-1 cash advantage. 

Read more:

  • Early voting began last week in Texas and ends Friday.
  • Dallas County is seeing a cluster of competitive Texas House races this election cycle.

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Politics State government 2016 elections Texas Legislature