With the retirement of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, the race to replace him quickly soared to the forefront of the Texas primary season. All Texas House seats are valuable, as roughly 27 million Texans are represented by only 150 State Representatives, but the significance of the HD 121 seat is undeniable, as its winner represents a symbolic victory for either conservatives or more moderate Republicans.
A small business owner and Air Force veteran, Matt Beebe twice before ran unsuccessfully against Speaker Straus; the 2018 primary was his third attempt at the HD 121 seat. Steve Allison, a 71-year old lawyer, received the backing of the liberal outgoing Speaker. The primary race in March saw six candidates vying for the seat, with Beebe finishing first at 29.56% and Allison close on his heels netting 26.34% of the first round of ballots. Ultimately, in the runoff, Allison was able to marshal enough resources and support from the district to overtake Beebe.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers:
|Texas House District 121 – By The Numbers|
|Steve Allison – Primary||Steve Allison – Runoff||Matt Beebe – Primary||Matt Beebe – Runoff|
|Total Money Raised||$190,879.68||$375,726.17||$102,309.78||$254,711.99|
|Total Number of Donations||226||243||57||60|
|Average Donation Amount||$844.60||$1,546.20||$1,794.91||$4,245.20|
|Total Money Raised In-District||$94,968.68||$62,550.00||$8,742.00||$12,485.00|
|Total Number of Donations In-District||170||117||31||32|
|Percent of All Money Raised From In-District||49.75%||16.65%||8.55%||4.9%|
|Total Money Raised Outside District||$95,911||$313,176.17||$93,567.78||$242,226.99|
|Total Number of Donations Outside District||56||126||26||28|
|Percent of All Money Raised From Outside District||50.25%||83.35%||91.45%||95.1%|
|Cost Per Vote||$96.87||$42.56||$18.65||$34.42|
While conservative Republicans celebrated Speaker Straus’ exit, moderate and liberal Republicans as well as Democrats bemoaned his departure. Straus was the most prominent roadblock for both Governor Greg Abbott’s and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s slate of conservative reforms. Now that he’s gone, moderate and liberal Republicans and Democrats will need to find a new champion. Could it be Allison? Likely not right away, as he certainly has big shoes to fill.
Key Takeaways from the HD 121 Race:
Before you go…
Charles Butt, CEO of H-E-B and a 2016 Democrat primary voter, contributed $25,000 to Allison’s bid. Butt is one of the largest donors in Texas politics, with his contributions routinely spanning both sides of the political aisle. Butt’s donations usually benefit whichever wing wields the power in Austin; since moderate Republicans are currently running the Texas House of Representatives and backed Allison, Butt’s hefty contribution makes perfect sense.
Our Race to Raise series takes a deeper look at the most high-profile races of the election cycle, focusing specifically on money raised by those seeking to serve in public office. Stay tuned for the next installment.