The effort by Julie Johnson (D) to unseat Texas House Representative Matt Rinaldi (R) is turning into one of the closest races to watch in Texas this November. The two lawyers are facing off to represent House District 115, which encompasses northwest Dallas County and portions of Coppell, Irving, and Farmers Branch.
Rinaldi, who has held the seat for two terms, is a founding member of the Texas Freedom Caucus, whose stated goal is to support “liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.” According to a non-partisan study by Dr. Mark Jones of Rice University, Rinaldi is tied with two others as the most conservative member of the Texas House.
In March, Johnson won the Democrat nomination with 77.26% of the vote over her primary contender Rock Bower. With unrest among conservative Texas politicos over a potential “blue wave” in Dallas County, it is worth noting that Johnson and Bower together netted 725 more votes than Rinaldi received in his unopposed primary election. If this is a harbinger of Democrat turnout in November, Rinaldi will have an uphill battle to retain his seat.
Here’a a quick look at the numbers:
|Texas House District 115 – By The Numbers|
|Matt Rinaldi||Julie Johnson|
|Total Money Raised||$98,915.38||$460,114.33|
|Total Number of Donations||254||668|
|Average Donation Amount||$389.43||$688.79|
|Total Money Raised In-District||$20,705.00||$45,237.50|
|Total Number of Donations In-District||102||100|
|Percent of All Money Raised From In-District||20.93%||9.83%|
|Total Money Raised Outside District||$78,210.38||$414,876.83|
|Total Number of Donations Outside District||152||568|
|Percent of All Money Raised From Outside District||79.07%||90.16%|
|Total Expenditures in Primary||$23,159.84||$114,660.50|
|Total Votes in Primary||5,802||5,043|
|Cost Per Vote in Primary||$3.99||$22.74|
Overall, Johnson has out-raised Rinaldi 4:1. Of course Johnson had to raise money to survive a Democrat primary, while Rinaldi was unopposed in March. Regardless, the incumbent typically has the financial advantage. It is shocking to see the challenger so far ahead in the race to raise campaign cash.
Key Takeaways from the HD 115 Race:
Before you go…
Quite a few elected officials are stepping up to help Rinaldi. U.S Congressman Kenny Marchant donated $1,000 this past summer; State Senator Don Huffines has pitched in $5,000; and State Representatives James Frank, Matt Schaefer and Jeff Leach have also contributed to help their colleague retain his seat.
*This article was originally published on September 17 and was updated September 18, 2018.
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.