As the first campaign finance reports since the legislative session are being released, Texas Scorecard is compiling fundraising totals from different groups of politicians in order to inform citizens. Today we present the fundraising numbers for the freshman Democrat members who took seats previously held by Republicans.

In the 2018 election in Texas, Beto O’Rourke may have failed to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, but this does not mean his campaign was a total failure. Down ballot, his candidacy had the effect of driving straight-ticket voters to reject Republican incumbents and replace them with new freshman Democrats.

After the session, these are how those new Democrats fared in the Texas House.

Member Predecessor Contributions Cash on Hand Outstanding Loans
Michelle Beckley Ron Simmons $15,335.68 $28,910.03 $0.00
John Bucy Tony Dale $22,651.84 $25,965.51 $46,375.00
Rhetta Bowers Cindy Burkett $3,615.82 $24,848.58 $0.00
Gina Calanni Mike Schofield $8,791.53 $15,328.17 $0.00
Vikki Goodwin Paul Workman $17,055.13 $36,850.29 $55,000.00
Julie Johnson Matt Rinaldi $78,164.19 $108,961.47 $0.00
Terry Meza Rodney Anderson $1,854.17 $41,602.70 $0.00
Ana-Maria Ramos Linda Koop $7,330.37 $16,147.96 $298.22
Jon Rosenthal Gary Elkins $9,568.67 $13,111.11 $1,075.00
James Talarico Larry Gonzales $36,951.77 $16,732.74 $13,000.00
John Turner Jason Villalba $35,446.02 $209,892.52 $7,000.00
Erin Zwiener Jason Isaac $19,258.87 $27,507.86 $0.00

Though these initial reports cover the period between January and June, incumbent members of the legislature were only able to raise money from June 17 through the end of the month due to a “blackout” period on fundraising during and surrounding the legislative session.

Still, these initial reports give insight into which Republican challengers may have the greatest opportunity to take back seats from Democrat freshmen who may be vulnerable in 2020. With the exception of State Reps. John Turner (Dallas) and Julie Johnson (Carrollton), each of these incumbents has less than $50,000 in their campaign accounts, with most falling far short of that.

Many of these seats have the potential to be big pick-up opportunities for Republicans; however, that task may be more difficult this cycle for two reasons.

First, the Texas Legislature eliminated straight-ticket voting, meaning voters who go to the polls to vote for (or against) President Donald Trump will have to manually scroll down several pages of judicial elections before getting to state legislative races. Opinions are mixed on whether the change will benefit or harm Republican electoral prospects.

Secondly, Republican candidates and county parties will have to do without the help or financial backing of Republican Texas House incumbents, who may hold safe seats, due to a threat by Speaker Dennis Bonnen that he would “penalize” members who do so.

Democrats also took two seats in the Texas Senate during the election. However, these seats will not be up for re-election until 2022.

Member Predecessor Contributions Cash on Hand Outstanding Loans
Nathan Johnson Don Huffines $5.00 $112,448.24 $0.00
Beverly Powell Konni Burton $25.00 $149,725.16 $0.00

Numbers are compiled from reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Our previous report on the fundraising totals from the Texas Freedom Caucus is available here.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens