Monday, December 10, 2012

Season’s Over -- Preparations Begin for Opening Day 2013

The 2012 fundraising season ended at midnight December 8 for Texas statewide executive and legislative candidates.  Texas law prohibits the giving or receiving of political contributions beginning 30 days prior to a regular legislative session and continuing through 20 days after final adjournment.  Tex. Election Code § 253.034.  The usual flurry of end of season hunts (fundraisers) were held as officeholders stocked up for the winter (legislative session).

Fundraising shots are still ringing out in Senate District 6, which officially became vacant December 6 when Gov. Perry canvassed the vote.  Perry how has until December 26 to order an expedited election to replace the deceased Sen. Gallegos.  After December 26, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is authorized to order the election.  Tex. Const. Art. III, § 13.  The election must occur on a Tuesday or a Saturday within 21 to 45 days after the writ of election is issued.  I believe that Perry will call the SD 6 election for Saturday, January 26.  Candidates in the SD 6 expedited election may continue to raise money until they are sworn into office.  Tex. Election Code § 253.034(c).

As soon as the 2012 fundraising season ended, preparations began for June 17, 2013, otherwise known as Opening Day.  Ferocious 2014 Republican primary contests are expected for many or all of the Texas statewide offices.  Candidates will have two more fundraising bag counts before those races get underway in earnest in July 2013:  January 15, 2013, when candidates disclose their cash on hand as of December 31, 2012; and July 15, 2013, when candidates disclose their cash on hand as of June 30, 2013.

The following are the last cash on hand numbers for likely 2014 Republican statewide candidates reported as June 30, 2012 (in millions):  Abbott $14.5; Combs $6.7; Perry $3.4; Branch $2.1; Staples $1.6; Hegar $1.3; Patrick $1.2; Dewhurst $.8; Patterson $.7; and Hilderbran $.4.  Each of these officeholders was aggressively raising money prior to the December 8 cutoff and presumably will report increased amounts on January 15.

When the fundraising season reopens on June 17, 2013, each of these candidates will try to bag as many big donors as they can in the two week period prior to June 30.  Strong cash on hand numbers reported July 15 will either scare potential opponents out of their race, or allow them to convince donors that they are the likely winner and thereby raise more money than their opponent.

Texas fundraising is over (mostly) for 2012, but plans are already being drawn up to maximize the June 2013 hunt.