Texas House District 65, which includes portions of Carrollton, Dallas, Highland Village, and Lewisville in Denton County, is one of the key Battleground 2020 races to watch. After a close race in 2018, Democratic challenger Michelle Beckley flipped the District 65 seat blue, ousting then-incumbent Republican Ron Simmons by a mere 2.32 percentage points.
This time around, State Rep. Beckley is the one playing defense, attempting to hold her position against Republican opponent Kronda Thimesch. With such a narrow margin of victory last cycle, Republicans are intent on reclaiming the lost seat in 2020. Meanwhile, the pressure is on for Democratic incumbents in these Battleground races to hold their current ground. Doing so would allow a mere nine flipped seats to turn the Texas House blue.
Beckley punched her ticket to the general election earlier this year against primary challenger Paige Dixon. According to Beckley’s website, the first-term incumbent’s platform for re-election is focused on healthcare, education, gun reform, the environment, and cannabis legalization.
Thimesch, a former Lewisville Independent School District trustee and landscaping company co-founder, is leading the attempt to reclaim District 65. According to Thimesch’s website, the issues the Republican challenger is highlighting this year include property taxes, education, border security, roads and transportation, and protecting life and the Second Amendment.
Here is a deeper look at the money backing each side of this closely-followed race.
|Michelle Beckley (D)(I)||Kronda Thimesch (R)|
|Total Money Raised||$176,912||$219,197|
|Total Number of Donations||1,267||599|
|Average Donation Amount||$139.63||$365.94|
|Total Money Raised In-District||$15,996||$27,176|
|Total Number of Donations From In-District||349||172|
|Percentage Raised From In-District||9%||12%|
|Total Money Raised Outside District||$160,916||$192,021|
|Total Number of Donations Raised Outside District||918||427|
|Percentage Raised From Outside District||91%||88%|
Kronda Thimesch is currently ahead in overall fundraising this year, raising $219,197 versus $176,912 for Michelle Beckley. The 20 percent lead is notable, but not an outsized cash advantage compared to some of the other Battleground races. Thimesch’s fundraising has been bolstered by her leads in total dollars raised both in-district and out-of-district versus the incumbent.
In the most recent finance reports, both candidates reported a relatively close cash-on-hand race. Thimesch has the lead with $63,886, but Beckley is not far behind, reporting $48,569 on-hand, giving them a comparable ability to spend campaign dollars in the final days to turn out voters.
Both the incumbent and her Republican challenger have reported the majority of their funds coming from donors outside of the district. For Beckley, 91 percent of her funds have come from outside. Meanwhile, Thimesch has reported 88 percent of her funds coming from donors outside of District 65.
While Thimesch raised more money in-district with $27,176 versus $15,996, Beckley received nearly double the number of donations from voters who will see her name on their ballot. While outside money certainly helps fund campaigns, in-district donations are often the best financial predictor of election-day results.
Will Thimesch continue to maintain the overall fundraising lead? And can Beckley hang on to her in-district advantage during the final pre-election surge? With two more financial reports due before the November election, TUSA readers will be able to track the ongoing status of the money in this election, as well as the other Battleground 2020 races. Join us to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox.