Mortgaged House: Campaign Contributions to Texas Representatives, 1995-96
Members of the Texas House filled their campaign war chests with $14,627,357 from July 1, 1995 through year-end 1996.
House members raised a staggering 80 percent ($10,047,340) of their $100-or-larger contributions from sources outside the home district. Rep. Senfronia Thompson raised 100 percent of her contributions outside her district. Four other members went out of district for more than 98 percent of the value of their contributions of $100 or more. Just 11 members raised more than half of such money in their home districts.
Contributions of $100 or more accounted for 95 percent of House money; 37 percent ($5.4 million) came in contributions of $1,000 or more.
Businesses and PACs directly contributed 62 percent ($9 million) of all the itemized contributions that House members received; individual contributors accounted for the remaining 38 percent ($5.4 million). Just 27 members raised more than half of their money from individual contributors; PACs and businesses accounted for at least half the money raised by every other House member. In fact, 21 House members raised more than 80 percent of their money from PACs and businesses.
9 zip codes in Austin, Houston and the Dallas Metroplex accounted for 48 percent ($6.1 million) of the value of all House contributions of $100 or more (three Austin zip codes generated $4.4 million, or 35 percent of all contributions of $100 or more).
The Speaker and five powerful Democratic chairs (Reps. Hugo Berlanga, Mark Stiles, Rob Junell, Clyde Alexander and David Counts) raised well over $200,000 each. The only other members of the House $200,000-Plus Club are Reps. Ron Clark, Bill Siebert, Gene Seaman, and Harryette Ehrhardt. These 10 members raised 23 percent of all the money raised in the entire House.
Many members raise much more money than they need. Forty percent of the House's members faced no opponent in their primary or general election. Nonetheless, these 61 members raised almost $3.6 million. Three uncontested members (Reps. Rob Junell, Kim Brimer and Kyle Janek) raised more than $150,000 each.
The candidate with the most money almost always wins. Out of 66 contested general elections, the least-funded candidate prevailed in just seven races. Of these seven upset races, only two resulted in an incumbent's defeat and only two were won by candidates whose opponent raised more than twice as much money as the victor.
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