The impending deadline of 5 PM was on everyone’s mind today as Houstonians officially learned who has committed to run for Mayor of Houston in a bid to replace Annise Parker. One thing is for sure, donors are making it rain! Perhaps, it was because we were in a recession, but the 2009 July campaign finance reports look bleak compared to 2015.
Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle adds, “The news is an obvious boon to Councilman Steve Costello and former Kemah mayor Bill King, Jones said, two centrist-to-conservative candidates who were set to spar with Pennington for the same supporters.”
What did we learn? Garcia outraised his opponents, but not by a lot. Costello was just behind Garcia. It must be noted though, Garcia was late to this game, so these figures may not be telling us the real story. In essence, Garcia has only been fundraising since May, yet was able to outraise everyone else.
Raising money is only half the battle. Like the children’s game Big Bank/Little Bank, it is the cash in the treasure chest which folks should hone in on in the reports. This is where it gets interesting because all of a sudden the fight gets a bit more even. Garcia barely edges out Costello again, but McVey and Turner gain ground. Suddenly, the mayor’s race becomes a millionaire’s competition.
To put 2009 into perspective, Parker raised about $812K and had only $602K in her treasure chest around this time in the race. Gene Locke raised $1.1M, but had $574K in the bank; Peter Brown, on the other hand, raised $477K and had $1.7M in his treasure chest. Brown fell into third place in the Municipal Election of 2009. Locke would advance to the December run-off where he lost to Parker.
So, what does this mean? It translates to: It is still too early, anything can happen! It will be interesting to see how this race plays out in light of the recent KHOU – Houston Public Media Poll which found that half of all likely voters have already made up their minds on who they plan to vote for Mayor of Houston. Do not act surprised if some candidates decide to suspend their campaigns in the next few weeks. The first casualty may be Chris Bell, but only time will tell. Will money affect this race? How? Why or Why not?