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The 10 Most Vulnerable Democrat-Held House Districts Are Shaping Up to Be Expensive Races

Last September, Reform Austin reported on the top 10 most vulnerable Democrat-held districts in the Texas House. Now, with the final ballots set for the different House District elections and new campaign finance reports numbers, these races are shaping up to be expensive in 2020.

Rep. Gina Calanni (D-Katy) HD-132

Gina Calanni had the smallest margin of victory in 2018 of any member of the Texas Legislature. As a result, she’s comfortably leading the fundraising pack with $82,000, outraising her two opponents. Calanni has spent $25,000 and has maintained $71,000. 

In the two-way Republican primary, newcomer business owner Angelica Garcia and former State Rep. Michael Schofield were neck and neck in fundraising. Garcia raised $28,000 and Schofield raised $27,000 in the latter half of 2019. However, Schofield maintains the cash advantage over Garcia because of leftover money from prior cycles, $152,000 to $21,000.

Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) HD-65

Incumbent freshman State Rep. Michelle Beckley outraised her two GOP opponents and one primary challenger with $64,000. However, because of heavy spending to the tune of $47,000, Beckley loses the cash advantage to the top Republican fundraiser in the race, Lewisville ISD Trustee Kronda Thimesch. Beckley maintained $42,000 as compared to Thimesch who maintains $54,000 after raising $58,000.

The other Republican opponent, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD school board president Nancy Cline, raised $4,000, spent $18,000 and maintained $1,000 after loaning her campaign $17,000.

Beckley’s primary challenger Paige Jeanie Dixon raised $9,000, spent $9,000 and has $300 in her campaign account heading into 2020.

Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston) HD-135

In the last six months of 2019, freshman lawmaker Jon Rosenthal outraised his sole GOP opponent, former Jersey Village Mayor Justin Ray, but lost the cash advantage by about $5,000. 

Rosenthal raised $71,000, spent $42,000 and maintained $41,000, whereas Ray raised $53,000, spent $24,000 and maintains $47,000.

Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) HD-45

Hays County freshman lawmaker Erin Zwiener outraised her three GOP opponents as well as her primary challenger with $109,000 by the end of 2019. However, she lost the cash advantage heading into 2020, ending the year with $75,000.

In the three-way Republican primary for House District 45, the fundraising leaders are attorney Kent “Bud” Wymore and nonprofit leader Carrie Isaac who raised $57,000 and $52,000 in the last fundraising period, respectively. Isaac has the most cash-on-hand with $109,000 as compared to Wymore who has $80,000. The third GOP candidate, Austin Talley, raised under $1,000, spent $9,000 and has maintained $1,000 by the end of 2019.

The other Democrat in the race, bookkeeper Liliana Posada, reported no money raised, spent or maintained. 

Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) HD-52

The youngest member of the Texas House, State Rep. James Talarico outraised his GOP opponent, former Hutto Citycouncilman Lucio Valdez, 10 times over. Talarico raised $81,000, spent $41,000, and maintained $69,000 by the end of 2019. Valdez, meanwhile, raised $7,000, spent $5,000 and has $3,600 in cash-on-hand. 

Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) HD-47

Freshman State Rep. Vikki Goodwin outraised her five GOP opponents with a $120,000 fundraising haul. She maintains the cash advantage with $106,000.

In the five-way Republican primary for House District 47, Jenny Forgey led in fundraising with $78,000 heading into 2020. She spent $43,000 and maintained $56,000. Coming second in fundraising is former Austin City Councilman Donald Zimmerman who raised $41,000. He also spent $18,000 and maintained $52,000.

General Counsel Jennifer Fleck raised $20,000, spent $27,000 and has maintained $22,000, which includes a $20,000 loan to her campaign.

Justin Berry raised $17,000, spent $28,000 and maintained $9,000. Former Texas Public Policy Foundation employee Aaron Reitz raised $16,000, spent $27,000 and has maintained $20,000.

Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Richardson) HD-102

State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos is one of only two incumbent Democrats who flipped Republican House Districts in 2018 that was outraised in this last campaign finance period by their GOP opponent. Former State Rep. Linda Koop raised $91,000, spent $32,000 and maintained $68,000. Meanwhile, freshman legislator Ramos raised $51,000, spent $35,000 and maintained $35,000. 

The second GOP candidate, Ricky Walker, raised $4,000, spent $2,000 and maintained $1,000.

Rep. John Bucy III (D-Austin) HD-136

Freshman State Rep. John Bucy substantively outraised his GOP opponent with a fundraising haul of $102,000. He also spent $37,000 and maintained $85,000.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for House District 136, Michael Guevara, raised $10,000, spent $9,000, and has maintained $1,000.

Rep. John Turner (D-Dallas) HD-114

Rep. John Turner not only outraised his GOP opponent, but also outraised all the incumbents in the top 10 vulnerable Democrat-held House districts. Turner raised $251,000 and spent $66,000, which left his campaign account with $388,000.

Business owner and Republican challenger Luisa del Rosal raised $192,000, spent $44,000 and has maintained $284,000.

Rep. Rhetta Bowers (D-Garland) HD-113

State Rep. Rhetta Bowers is the other incumbent Democrat who flipped Republican House Districts in 2018 that was outraised in this last campaign finance period by their GOP opponent. Bowers raised $39,000 and maintained $39,000 after spending nothing. 

Pharmacist and Republican Will Douglas made a strong showing in fundraising with a haul of $104,000. He also spent $7,000 and maintained $73,000.

The Texas Ethics Commission did not have a report from the other Republican candidate, Judge Bill Metzger.

Click here to check out the top 10 vulnerable Republican-held house districts.

Written by RA News staff.
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