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Texas Pols File Fundraising Reports Before Primary

Texas will hold the first congressional primaries of 2014 in less than two weeks, but so far the races are so under the radar that one of the candidates to watch failed to file a pre-primary fundraising report due Thursday.  

The reports that did come in ahead of the March 4 primaries offered some new insight into the limited number of contests worth keeping an eye on, including four House incumbents and an open-seat race.  

Facing a competitive GOP primary challenge, Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who could be running is his last race , stepped up his fundraising game. Meanwhile, freshman Rep. Marc Veasey’s Democratic primary opponent dropped $800,000 of his own money on the race.  

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, kept up his fundraising dominance, bringing in $928,000 from Jan. 1 to Feb. 12. With Rep. Steve Stockman challenging Cornyn in the primary, the incumbent spent $2.6 million during the first six weeks of the year, much of that on media buys. Stockman’s report, which was not filed electronically, was not immediately available.  

In numerical order by district, here’s how Texas House candidates in the races to watch fared during the pre-primary fundraising period:  

4th District: Republican Rep. Ralph M. Hall

Hall, who turns 91 a couple of months after the primary, raised twice as much from Jan. 1 to Feb. 12 as he did in the fourth quarter. He raised $118,000 in the pre-primary period, leaving him with $188,000 in cash on hand.  

Hall’s most-organized primary challenger, attorney John Ratcliffe, raised $70,000 between the start of the year and the pre-primary filing deadline. He had $200,000 in cash on hand and has spent money on TV ads in the suburban Dallas district.  

Texas’ 4th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

23rd District: Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego

Gallego isn’t facing a primary challenge, but he’s preparing for the general in the Lone Star State’s most competitive House contest .  

No one raised eye-popping figures between the end of the year and the mid-February filing deadline, leaving the freshman Gallego still with a big cash advantage heading into the general. Gallego raised $71,000 and ended the period with $532,000 in cash on hand. That six-week haul was more than either of his two potential Republican challengers brought in.  

Former Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, a Republican making a comeback bid after being unseated by Gallego in 2012, raised $41,000 and had $178,000 in cash on hand. Canseco’s GOP primary opponent, former CIA Agent Will Hurd, raised $43,000 and had $116,000 on hand.  

The race is rated Lean Democrat  by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

32nd District: Republican Rep. Pete Sessions

Facing a tea party-backed challenger in attorney Katrina Pierson, Sessions added another healthy sum to his war chest before the primary.  

Sessions, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, raised $192,000 in the first six weeks of the year and had $860,000 in cash on hand as of Feb. 12.  

Pierson, on the other hand, had yet to file a pre-primary report as of Friday afternoon. She had just $50,000 in cash on hand at the end of the year but was endorsed by Sarah Palin just this week.  

Texas’ 32nd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

33rd District: Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey

In the only Democratic primary to watch, the freshman Veasey was far outraised by attorney Tom Sanchez.  

Veasey reported raising $86,000 before the primary and had $456,000 in cash on hand. Sanchez brought in nearly 10 times as much in personal money and spent nearly half of it on advertising.  

Texas’ 33rd District is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

36th District: Open Seat

About a dozen Republicans filed the necessary paperwork to run for this seat left open by Steve Stockman, who is running for Senate, but only a few of the candidates had filed their pre-primary reports as of Friday afternoon.  

Businessman Ben Streusand brought in $308,000, including $275,000 in personal money, and ended the period with $149,000 in cash on hand. According to a source with knowledge of ad buys in the district, Streusand has spent $192,000 on TV ads in 2014, while his report showed around $300,000 total spent on advertising.
Brian Babin, a dentist, Republican activist and former congressional candidate, raised $133,000 in the pre-primary period — including a $25,000 personal loan to his campaign. Babin reported having $119,000 in cash on hand.  

Robin Riley, a former NASA contractor, and businessman John Manlove, a former congressional candidate, each brought in less than $60,000, though Manlove had far more left in cash on hand with $159,000.  

Doug Centilli, a former chief of staff to Texas GOP Rep. Kevin Brady, had yet to file his pre-primary report. However, according to media buy figures obtained by CQ Roll Call, Centilli has spent at least $39,000 on television advertising in 2014. Centilli reported $49,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2013.  

Texas’ 36th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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