WASHINGTON – In the 10 days after long shot Democratic candidate and veteran MJ Hegar published her widely praised viral video, her campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, raised $750,000. It’s only the latest large fundraising figure reported by a Democratic U.S. House candidate from Texas, but it shows a stunning surge of interest in Hegar’s candidacy.
Hegar will report raising $1.1 million in the second fundraising quarter of the year, her campaign told the Tribune. Most of that came about from the attention drawn to her candidacy by her biographical ad, “Doors,” which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.
The Hegar news came amid a cascade of robust fundraising numbers from Democrats vying to unseat Texas Republicans in #Congress.
Dallas Attorney Colin Allred will report raising almost $1.1. million in the second quarter and having over $900,000 cash-on-hand as of the end of June, per Allred’s campaign. Earlier Monday, retired Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones of San Antonio announced she had raised $1.2 million. And on Thursday, Houston attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher reported raising “more than $1 million” in that same period.
Allred, Jones and Fletcher are running in the state’s three most competitive House districts, areas where Democrat Hillary Clinton drew more votes than Republican Donald Trump in 2016. Ortiz Jones is taking on U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes for the geographically vast 23rd District that encompasses two major media markets, El Paso and San Antonio. Fletcher is running against U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, in one of the most expensive media markets in the country. Allred is running against U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.
If past is precedent, these candidates will deploy much of this money in fall television ad wars.
Hurd is a perennially strong fundraiser and Sessions is the former chairman of the NRCC – a position that entails raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the national GOP House campaign. Culberson has improved his fundraising over the last year as the viability of the Democratic offensive in his district has taken form. None of the incumbents these women are challenging have released their second quarter numbers. Fundraising reports are due on July 15.
Hegar, however, is in a different category. Her race encompasses conservative areas along Interstate-35 and in the northern Austin suburbs. Carter, the incumbent, was first elected in 2002 and has never faced a serious general election campaign.