The race for House District 31 was one of the few contested Democrat primaries in the Texas House during the 2018 Election Cycle. Six term incumbent State Representative Ryan Guillen faced off with challenger Ana Lisa Garza, a former district judge.
Guillen hasn’t made many waves in Austin during his tenure as a state representative, a fact which contributed to Garza’s challenge. Her critiques of Guillen centered on what she deemed a lack of rocking the boat, and an insistence on going along with the crowd. Despite her strong performance, voters ultimately decided they preferred Guillen’s approach, and he won reelection.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers:
|Texas House District 31 – By The Numbers|
|Ryan Guillen (I)||Ana Lisa Garza|
|Total Money Raised||$257,055||$197,647|
|Total Number of Donations||226||91|
|Average Donation Amount||$1,137.41||$2,171.95|
|Total Money Raised In-District||$9,245||$58,396.66|
|Total Number of Donations In-District||19||26|
|Percent of All Money Raised From In-District||3.6%||29.55%|
|Total Money Raised Outside District||$247,810.34||$139,250|
|Total Number of Donations Outside District||207||65|
|Percent of All Money Raised From Outside District||96.4%||70.45%|
|Cost Per Vote||$44.21||$9.99|
First elected when he was only 24 years old, Guillen had never faced a primary challenge until Judge Garza’s bid. Garza’s district judge territory covers three out of the ten counties in the district, perhaps contributing to her impressive performance. Despite Guillen outspending Garza nearly 3:1, Garza still managed to net 44% of the overall vote. This could spell trouble for Guillen in two years. Political insiders will be closely watching Guillen’s performance in the 2019 Legislative Session, and whether or not Garza seeks to challenge him again.
Key Takeaways from the HD 31 race:
Before you go…
$662,364. That’s how much Guillen is still sitting on in his campaign account after spending over $630,000 to defeat Garza. It appears being an incumbent really does have it’s financial perks, especially when one doesn’t have a primary opponent for over a decade. To build up that kind of campaign war chest, the lobby has to be pumping significant resources into a lawmaker’s account each cycle. For a guy who hasn’t made many headlines, that’s quite a bit of cash.
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.