Democrats have been trying for years to turn Texas blue, with little success at the ballot box. But so far in 2020, they are succeeding at flipping the state when it comes to fundraising. According to the latest campaign finance reports, Democratic candidates in Texas have $26.7 million cash on hand, compared with $19.2 million for Republican candidates. That is a major turnaround from the same period in 2016 and 2018, when Republicans held large cash-on-hand advantages.
Democrats are hoping to capitalize on their solid statewide showing in 2018, and have launched an aggressive campaign effort this year which led to a record-high turnout in the recent primary runoff. "When you're behind you work harder than when you're ahead, and Republicans have been ahead in Texas for 25 years," says GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak. "But that lead is shrinking."
Mackowiak isn't surprised at the current fundraising numbers, given the influx of outside money coming in to Texas from the likes of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, which began with the Beto O'Rourke phenomenon of two years ago. "The Democrats are hungry to take the Texas House majority---they need nine seats to do that---and they are receiving a lot of out of state money to do that," says Mackowiak. "A number of their congressional challengers are receiving lots of out of state money as well."
"Their candidates are receiving huge amounts of money, and a lot of that is out of state, from places like California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois," adds Mackowiak.
Regardless of the final fundraising tally, the only number that matters will be the result on November 3rd. And Mackowiak thinks Republicans still have the advantage there. "The issues favor Republicans," he says. "Texas is still pro-energy, still pro-life, still pro-Second Amendment...and the contrast between Republicans and Democrats on those issues could not be more stark."