If there’s a race to be had in Texas Congressional District 14 next year, the declared challenger must close a sizable fundraising gap with U.S. Rep. Randy Weber.
Weber, a Friendswood Republican, has a campaign war chest more than 50 times larger than his only declared challenger for next year’s midterm election, Pearland Democrat Adrienne Bell.
As of June 30, Weber’s campaign fund had $406,948.59, according to finance reports filed Saturday with the Federal Elections Commission.
Bell, who declared her candidacy in May, a month into the quarterly reported cycle, reported having $7,202.80 still on hand after having raised a little more than $12,000.
The gap illustrates the hurdle Bell, a first-time congressional candidate who previously failed to win a seat on the Pearland City Council, faces against Weber, a four-time congressman who succeeded conservative mainstay Ron Paul in the House of Representatives in 2012.
Bell is running a campaign backed by Brand New Congress, a political action committee led by former Bernie Sanders staffers seeking to elect more progressives to Congress.
Reminiscent of the Sanders campaign, which frequently touted the number of small donations it received, it appears most of Bell’s fundraising came in amounts smaller than $200.
Of the $12,114.96 Bell reported collecting, $11,389.93 was characterized as unitemized — the FEC term for donations of less than $200 that don’t require listing donors’ personal information.
Weber collected $79,850 between April and June, most of it in large, individual contributions of more than $250 or from political action committees.
Weber’s donors include Lawrence Del Papa Jr., president of Texas City-based Del Papa Distributing Co.; Barry Goodman, president of the Goodman Corp., which does a lot of transportation consulting work in the region; and $15,800 from the House Freedom Fund, a political action committee connected to the hyper-conservative House Freedom Caucus.
The amounts raised by the local House of Representatives candidates pale in comparison to the amounts raised in the statewide Senate race.
Last week, Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced he had raised more than $2 million between April and June in his bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz. O’Rourke had $1.8 million on hand at the end of June.
The Democrat touted the amount he collected in small donations.
“We raised more than $2 million over the last three months from more than 45,000 unique donations, most of them from Texas, every one of them that wanted to take back our state, take back the Senate and take back this country,” O’Rourke told the Texas Tribune.
O’Rourke stopped in Galveston in April as part of his early campaign outreach efforts.
For his part, Cruz raised $1.6 million in the second quarter, and had $5.7 million cash on hand.
Monday was also the day for Texas officials to report how much they raised during the first half of the year. Because of a state law that prohibits fundraising around the legislative session, incumbent legislators have had only 12 days so far this year to raise money and report.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who on Friday announced his intention to run for re-election, raised $10 million in the last 12 days of June, and now has $40.8 million cash on hand.
Sen. Larry Taylor, of Friendswood, had a campaign fund of $960,691.91 cash on hand as of June 30, according to his latest finance report.
State Rep. Greg Bonnen, of League City, had $338,337.07 in his campaign fund and reported no contributions in the first six months of the year.
State Rep. Wayne Faircloth and Sen. Brandon Creighton’s July campaign finance reports were not available on the Texas Ethics Commission website Monday evening.