Houston Mayor's Race Finance Reports Tells Us A Lot
If the July 15th campaign finance reports, which cover the period from January 1 - June 30, are a reliable indicator, then the race for mayor of Houston is shaping up to be a two-way contest. With the power of incumbency favoring him, Mayor Sylvester Turner reported raising nearly $1.7 million, which left him $3.2 million cash on hand after expenditures of just under $1.7 million. Turner's closest rival, attorney Tony Buzbee, spent a little over $1.8 million in the same period and reported a staggering $5.1 million cash on hand. Buzbee remained true to his promise to not accept outside contributions, choosing instead to self-fund, so that he "remains free from the influence of special interest groups."
Bill King, who lost to Turner four years ago, came in a distant third in the numbers game, reporting contributions of $684,000 and expenditures of $580,000, which would have left him with a paltry (compared to Turner and Buzbee) $100,000 if not for two loans totaling $210,000. Some pundits opined that cash on hand under $250k of this stage of the campaign would signal a campaign in distress, which might explain the $100,000 loan King took out at the end of the reporting period to boost his cash on hand to $318,000. At this rate, it appears doubtful that King can become competitive, unless he borrows significantly more funds.
Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins raised $140,000 and spent $93,000 during the entire report period; however Boykins has only been a candidate for Mayor since June 8th. Boykins had just under $70,000 when the reporting period ended on June 30.
Candidate Kendall Baker spent nearly all of the $15,810 he raised, leaving just $260 in the bank.
Sue Lovell is also a candidate for Mayor, but filed after the reporting period ended, thus did not have to file a July 15th report.