Members of Congress may have abysmal approval ratings right now, but they’re continuing to rake in big contributions from North Texas supporters.
In fact, almost another $1 million flowed into the war chests of locals seeking seats in the U.S. House.
With less than three months to go before Texas’ general election, thousands of donors have sent checks to the candidates of their choice — generally incumbents — who are running for U.S. House districts in or near Tarrant County. But challengers also are getting contributions.
“This is the year of anti-incumbency,” said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.
That’s the plus for the challengers, coming at a time where 51 percent of Americans said during a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that they disapprove of the way their own U.S. Representative handles his or her job.
But the minus for them is that most local congressional districts favor the GOP.
Local incumbents “are all strong and recognized Republicans in favorable districts and have proven electoral records,” Saxe said. “If they were to have had any political trouble, it would have been in the primaries.”
More than that, “each of the [local incumbents who face challenges] enjoys a massive financial advantage over their respective, underfunded Democratic incumbent, an advantage that will only grow as we move into the fall,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.
Money is important for many reasons — and not just because it helps candidates deliver their messages, said Victoria Farrar-Myers, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“Money provides a signal that this candidate is viable,” she said. “You … need a good message and campaign machinery to get out the vote.
“All these races come down to who can win the ground game and turn out the most voters.”
The average cost of a winning House campaign two years ago was $1.6 million, said Kyle Kondik, managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Here’s a look at the money sent to candidates in local congressional races, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission reflecting donations between April 1 and June 30.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, raised $128,325 and has $555,291 in cash on hand.
His donors include dozens of political action committees. Donations include $5,000 from the Koch Industries Inc. PAC; $1,000 from the American Medical Association PAC; $2,500 from the David Halliburton PAC; $1,000 from the Price Waterhouse Coopers PAC; and $1,500 from the Home Depot Inc. PAC.
Democrat David E. Cozad, who has unsuccessfully challenged Barton for this post in the past, raised more than $3,300 and has around $250 on hand. He also owes $1,800 in debts.
He received several in-kind donations. Other donations included $100 from Harriet Irby of Pantego, $500 from Naren L. Jackson of Arlington, $140 from Donald Jaquess of Arlington and $250 from Marilyn A. McClure of Arlington.
U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, raised more than $180,000 and has nearly $275,000 on hand.
She received a number of donations from local officials, including $400 from the Betsy Price campaign; $400 from the Charlie Geren campaign; $500 from the Joe Shannon Jr. campaign; $200 from the Jungus Jordan campaign; $150 from the Mary Louise Garcia campaign; $250 from former Fort Worth City Councilman Steve Murrin Jr.; and $250 from former state Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth.
Democrat Mark Greene, who has unsuccessfully challenged Granger for this post in the past, raised nearly $9,000 and has $10,113 on hand.
His donations include $20 from state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth; $50 from Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Sergio L. De Leon; $250 from former Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Art Brender; $1,000 from former Fort Worth City Councilman Jeff Davis; $1,000 from former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright; and $40 from Fort Worth City Councilwoman Ann Zadeh.
U.S. Rep. Kenny E. Marchant, R-Coppell, raised $76,918 and has a total of $856,184 on hand.
His donations include $1,500 from the Michigan Sugar Company Growers PAC; $1,000 from the Raytheon Company PAC; $2,500 from the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance; $1,000 from Texas Home Care and Hospice PAC; $1,000 from the 3M Company PAC; and $1,000 from Google Inc. Netpac.
Democrat Patrick McGehearty raised $4,516, has $1,773 on hand and owes $1,500 in debts and obligations.
His donations include several in-kind contributions form the Texas Democratic Party as well as $1,000 from Terry Barker of Coppell and $311 from Margaret Collins of Southlake.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican whose district stretches from Tarrant County to Austin, raised more than $220,000 and has $676,713 in cash on hand.
His donations include $1,500 from Fort Worth’s Hub Baker; $1,600 from Arlington’s Clay Cooley; $250 from a former opponent, Cleburne’s Justin Hewlett; $2,000 from the BP North America Employee PAC; $2,000 from the Halliburton Company PAC; $1,000 from the Ice Cream, Milk & Cheese PAC; and $1,000 from the Koch PAC.
Democratic challenger Marco Montoya raised $2,205, has $4,353 in cash on hand, and owes $12,682 in debt and obligations.
He received two campaign contributions separate from loans he made to the campaign. They were: $1,000 from Gregory B. Passty, a professor at Texas State University, and $500 from Lorenzo Sadum, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin.
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, faces no challenger in November. But he reported raising $152,205 and has $208,373 on hand.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, R-Fort Worth, faces no challenger in November. He reported raising $135,640 and has $204,758 on hand.