Rumors have been swirling in the political world about what’s going on with fundraising — who’s ahead and who’s behind. We decided to pull the data, do the math, and bring you the numbers. We compared 2020 to the 2018 election cycle. What we found was, frankly, shocking.
The most recent data available (latest Texas filing deadline) was February 24, 2020, so we pulled the same filing time frame for 2018 to give you an “apples-to-apples” comparison.
|Party of Candidate/Legislator||January 1 – February 24, 2018||January 1 – February 22, 2020||Percentage Change|
Right off the top, we noticed that the number of people running for Texas House and Senate has declined since 2018 — this alone is surprising. But the real story is in the donations. The number of Democratic candidates has declined by two percent while donations to them have increased by 26 percent. The number of Republican candidates has decreased by 12 percent, but donations to them have dropped by an astounding 73 percent.
What makes these numbers especially interesting is that they come from before the coronavirus-related economic shutdown and before the collapse in the price of oil.
Since 2020 includes a presidential race — which typically drives higher engagement with politics at all levels — it’s also worth comparing numbers with 2016’s election cycle. This year’s donation numbers look grim for Republicans in this model as well. Contributions to Republican candidates in 2020 are down 67 percent compared to 2016. Democrats are also behind, but only by eight percent.
People usually don’t give a reason why they do or don’t click “Donate,” but here are some possible explanations given the current political climate:
The candidacy of Michael Bloomberg proved that money alone cannot buy an election, but donations certainly can indicate momentum and excitement. If Democrats can turn their increased fundraising into increased turnout at the polls, November could be difficult for Republicans.
The next financial reports will include donations through June 30, and those reports will undoubtedly show that fundraising was affected by the recent economic downturn. It is unlikely Republicans will have seen a spike in their contributions. Whatever happens, we will continue to bring you nonpartisan analysis about the money in Texas politics.
We’d love to hear from you! What do you believe is behind this dramatic decline in donations to Republican candidates? Why do you think Democratic fundraising is up 26 percent? What will be the result in November? Will Democrats flip the Texas House?