Adrian Garcia is the Cash King and Outraises Opponents

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.

First, we can address who is running for mayor. The mayoral race in Houston resembles the GOP Presidential race; in other words, it is packed with candidates vying for the top spot. In alphabetical order, we have: 1) Chris Bell, 2) Stephen Costello, 3) Adrian Garcia, 4) Ben Hall, 5) Bill King, 6) Christopher Legier, 7) Marty McVey, and 8) Sylvester Tuner. Oliver Pennington would have been the ninth candidate, but he bowed out in mid-April due to concerns over his wife’s health.

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.

07/15 Total Contributions

Candidate Total Contributions
Chris Bell $381,668
Stephen Costello $1,476,757
Adrian Garcia $1,506,774
Ben Hall $948,630
Bill King $755,293
Christopher Legier $0
Marty McVey $60,197
Sylvester Turner $763,092

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.

07/15 Bank Total

Candidate Bank Total
Chris Bell $190,035
Stephen Costello $1,314,202
Adrian Garcia $1,321,625
Ben Hall $812,176
Bill King $544,499
Christopher Legier $0
Marty McVey $1,071,585
Sylvester Turner $1,160,813

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?

  • You place much too much emphasis on fundraising. The most money raised almost never produces the best candidate or politician. This kind of reporting is anathema to a properly- functioning democracy.

    • I agree, fundraising is not an indicator of the quality of a candidate. Look at the fiasco with the GOP where the show is being run by a wealthy presidential candidate. As I indicated, around this time in 2009, it was Annise Parker that was behind in the fundraising department. We all know how that race turned out.