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The Brief: Crunching the new campaign finance numbers

Incumbents and federal candidates jockeying for office in 2018 have submitted what their campaigns raked in and spent during the third quarter of the year.

Some of Texas' U.S. Congressional delegation at the opening of Austin's VA clinic on August 22, 2013 include, l to r, Sen. Ted Cruz, Congressmen Lloyd Doggett, John Carter, Michael McCaul, Joe Barton and Roger Williams.

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What you need to know

Over the weekend, incumbents and federal candidates jockeying for office in 2018 submitted what their campaigns raked in and spent during the third quarter of the year. Here are a few blurbs we thought were worth the highlight

• Democrats are showing some (financial) strength. In July, four GOP congressional incumbents from Texas were outraised by their Democratic opponents in the second quarter of the year. This time around, that number shrunk to two, with U.S. Reps. John Culberson of Houston and Lamar Smith of San Antonio being surpassed by their Democratic challengers for a second round in a row. But other GOP congressmen, such as Reps. Pete Sessions of Dallas and Will Hurd of Helotes, posted strong third quarters. 

• Hurricane Harvey may have hindered fundraising — which is something Culberson pointed to, saying it is “certainly not tasteful to raise money from people who’ve been devastated and lost everything.” Both Republican and Democratic candidates are reporting lukewarm third-quarter hauls, and there appears to be another large undercurrent, at least on the Democratic side: Donors are waiting to fork over cash until fields of contenders shape up after the primaries, per an operative with a super PAC that backs Democratic House candidates. 

• There's still one report left to go. Registered candidates have to file what they raised and spent between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 by the end of January 2018. Between now and then, expect more hopefuls to chuck their hats into the ring — Exhibit A — and others to withdraw their bids amid dried-up coffers. Things on the GOP side will soon heat up ahead of the state's competitive March primary season.

• Do you nerd out over the ins and outs of Texas politics? Subscribe to The Blast, our premium political newsletter that lands in your inbox every evening. We're tracking statewide, legislative and congressional races in a spreadsheet that's updated daily — and if you're into campaign finance figures, we're keeping tabs on that, too.

Other stories we're watching today:

• Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith is talking with the mayors of Port Aransas, Victoria, Rockport and Port Lavaca in Victoria this morning about Hurricane Harvey and the Texas Gulf Coast. Join us at 11:30 a.m., or watch a livestream on our site. We will also have a recap post highlighting what you may have missed from the conversation after the event concludes. 

Tribune today

• It took years for law enforcement to convict someone for a series of rapes and murders. The serial killer finally confessed — and he's set to be executed Wednesday evening. 

• With our new and improved Texas Higher Ed Outcomes Explorer, you can track students who started eighth grade in a Texas public school between 1997 and 2005.

• Meet 80 grassroots organizations advocating for issues that matter to Texans. 

• Pricey solutions for combatting Houston's flooding are piling up after Harvey. State senators want the federal government to pick up the tab, and they are vowing to deploy aggressive lobbying efforts to make sure it happens. 

• A Republican former congressman is challenging U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, for Texas' heavily Democratic 20th Congressional District in 2018. 

Pencil us in

Join us in The Woodlands for a conversation with state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, on Oct. 23. 

What we're reading

• Is the third time the charm for President Trump's travel ban? (Politico)

• San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich phoned a reporter at The Nation and called President Trump a "soulless coward" in response to him saying past presidents never reached out to fallen U.S. soldiers' families. 

• A public memorial service is happening today for the slain Texas Tech officer, who was an El Paso native. (El Paso Times)

• In the age of Harvey Weinstein and sexual abuse allegations, women are sharing their stories about sexual assault and harassment with the hashtag #MeToo. (The Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News $)  

• Federal immigration enforcement is building another facility to hold detainees who cross into the U.S. from Mexico. It's set to house 1,000 people — and it's joining seven detention centers already in the area. (The Austin American-Statesman $)

• Jury trials in Harris County were halted for weeks after Harvey. They finally resumed Monday. (The Houston Chronicle $)

Quote to note

"As long as I'm [in the House], I'm going to kill it." 

— State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, on legislation to eliminate in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students.

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