The most closely watched political clash in Texas this year will be the Democrats’ attempt to take control of the Texas House of Representatives. And the battle begins with the primaries on March 3. Over the next three weeks we’ll be bringing you an inside look at some of the most hotly contested primary races — introducing you to the candidates and giving you a clear breakdown of the money involved.
We start with the open seat (a race where there is no incumbent) in House District 60.
In September, State Rep. Mike Lang announced he would not run for reelection, but would instead seek a position as a Hood County Commissioner. Since then, four Republicans and no Democrats have thrown their hat in the ring to represent this solidly Republican district.
Jon Francis – Cisco businessman and conservative activist, Francis has served on the boards of notable conservative organizations including Live Action and PragerU. Francis is the son-in-law of conservative donors Farris and Jo Ann Wilks. He has been endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Focus on the Family founder, James Dobson.
Christopher Perricone – An Air Force veteran and entrepreneur, Perricone served as mayor of Mineral Wells until February 11, 2020, when he was ousted for being ineligible to serve because of failure to pay property taxes. In October 2019, the city council of Mineral Wells censured Mr. Perricone for three city charter violations. Perricone was also indicted in December 2019, and faces a third-degree felony charge for aggravated perjury. Perricone has suggested that these charges are unfair retribution for standing up against city corruption.
Glenn Rogers – Palo Pinto county rancher and veterinarian, Dr. Rogers’ website touts several conservative positions, but he has notably split with the Texas Republican Party platform by refusing to support a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying. Rogers was recently endorsed by former Governor and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
Kellye SoRelle – SoRelle is a practicing attorney in Granbury. She espouses the most moderate positions among the four candidates as she advocates for legalizing marijuana and potentially using a marijuana tax to alleviate Texans’ property tax burdens. SoRelle voted in the Democratic primary in three of the last four elections. She has defended these votes to conservative constituents by saying she lived in a more liberal district at the time.
|Jon Francis (R)||Christopher Perricone (R)||Glenn Rogers (R)||Kellye SoRelle (R)|
|Total Money Raised:||$626,188||$761||$161,905||$14,167|
|Total Number Of Unique Donations:||510||4||163||50|
|Average Donation Amount:||$1,288||$190||$993||$283|
|Total Money Raised In-District||$569,479||$129||$57,568||$13,357|
|Total Number of Donations In-District||277||2||88||43|
|Percentage of All Money Raised In-District||91%||17%||36%||94%|
|Total Money Raised Outside District||$56,709||$632||$104,337||$810|
|Total Number of Donations Outside District||233||2||75||7|
|Percentage of All Money Raised Outside District||9%||83%||64%||6%|
|Cash On Hand||$341,389||$175||$93, 302||$1,191|
Francis is way ahead in the race to raise campaign cash, having out-raised his closest opponent, Rogers, by more than 3-1. His fundraising was certainly helped by a $500,000 influx from his wealthy in-laws, Farris and Jo Ann Wilks, but he has still collected more than 500 additional donations — all while refusing any money from PACs or lobbyists.
But the most noteworthy number on this chart isn’t the hefty financial lead held by Mr. Francis. It’s the unusually high number of donations Francis has collected from within House District 60. At 277, his in-district donation count dwarfs the next highest by 189 donors. According to the Texas races we’ve analyzed, the correlation between having the most in-district donations and victory on election day is upwards of 80 percent. Citizens who are motivated to donate to a campaign in their district are also highly likely to turn out to vote and even to bring their friends.
Of course, a lot of money doesn’t hurt either. With both dollars and numbers in his column, the data is in Francis’ favor to fill the open seat.
Join us as we continue to analyze the most high profile races in Texas and bring you the answers you need about the money in Texas politics. Next are two other open seats up for grabs in 2020. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to see our analysis for HD 76 and HD 92.