A Democratic challenger for the U.S. House District 31 seat is outpacing the nine-term Republican incumbent in individual contributions, according to federal campaign fundraising filings.
The last-quarter reports were due to the Federal Elections Committee Jan. 31. The primary elections for the Nov. 5 general election is March 6.
Incumbent Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, reported $120,155 in monetary and in-kind contributions from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31., with $403,630.26 in cash on hand.
Of that $120,155, Carter gathered $55,325 in itemized individual contributions — donations over $200 not paid from political action committees. Carter also gathered $4,330 in unitemized individual contributions — donations under $200 not paid from political action committees.
During the last-quarter reporting period, Carter reported $147,164.64 in expenditures.
Carter’s closest fundraising competitor is Democrat Air Force veteran and author Mary Jennings “M.J.” Hegar, of Cedar Park, who reported $98,700.12 during the reporting period with $80,852.08 in cash on hand.
Underscoring Hegar’s grassroots support from district Democrats and her spurning of PAC money, the Hegar campaign reported $79,973.99 in itemized individual contributions and $21,176.13 in unitemized individual contributions — or donations less than $200. That’s a more than $40,000 lead over Carter, the nine-term incumbent.
Hegar reported $71,518.18 in expenditures during the filing period.
The next closest fundraiser, Democrat Kent Lester, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former Belton High School teacher, of Cedar Park, reported $54,278 in contributions during the filing period with a whopping $148,149.11 in cash on hand.
Propping up that cash on hand figure is a $100,000 loan Lester made to his campaign. Lester also contributed $40,000 to his own campaign. Without the loan and self-contribution, Lester raised $13,778.90 in individual contributions. Lester reported $25,637 in expenditures in the final quarter of 2017.
Republican challenger Mike Sweeney, board member for the Chisholm Trail Special Utility District, of Georgetown, reported $16,350 in contributions with $11,179.68 in cash on hand.
All of Sweeney’s reported contributions were from individual contributors. Sweeney also lent $3,000 to his own campaign. Sweeney, who lost to Carter in the 2016 primary, reported $15,650.99 in expenditures during the filing period.
Democrat Dr. Christine Eady Mann, a Cedar Park physician, reported $9.562.04 in contributions with $4,294.27 in cash on hand.
Mann’s campaign reported $5,562.04 in individual contributions and a $4,000 in-kind contribution from the Texas Democratic Party. Mann’s campaign reported $17,385.18 in expenditures.
Democrat Mike Clark, of Georgetown, reported $4,814.55 in contributions with $5.423.75 in cash on hand. Clark’s campaign reported $4,453.88 in expenditures.
Republican incumbent Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, unopposed in the March 6 primary, remains the whale in fundraising with $179,884.41 in reported contributions during fourth-quarter 2017 and $1,182,312.21 in cash on hand.
Of those contributions, $34,605 was donated from individual contributors directly to the Williams campaign. The remaining contributions came from political action committees and a joint fundraiser with the Roger for Congress Victory Fund, which received contributions from individual contributors.
Williams reported $125,767.09 in expenditures.
In a distant second, Chetan Panda, an Austin economist and one of five Democrats battling in the March primary, reported $39,483.23 in contributions with $16,942.49 in cash on hand. All of Panda’s contributions are from individual donors.
Third-place fundraiser Democrat Chris Perri, an Austin criminal defense attorney, reported $33,659.27 in contributions during the filing period with $41,279.77 in cash on hand.
Perri, who told the Herald he was running without PAC contributions, reported all of his contributions from individual contributors. Perri reported $18,784.53 in expenditures. Perri is, so far, the largest Democratic fundraiser throughout the campaign with $102,667.65 in total receipts — a narrow lead over Panda’s $99,336.33.
Julie Oliver, an Austin lawyer and accountant, reported $21,921.94 in contributions with $11,624.58. Oliver loaned her own campaign $3,125 and reported a $4,000 in-kind contribution from the Texas Democratic Party. Oliver’s campaign reported $10,297.36 in expenditures.
West Hansen, an Austin social worker, reported $13,600 in contributions with $9,227.54 in cash on hand. Hansen reported an $8,000 loan from himself and $4,472.46 in expenditures.
Kathi Thomas, an Austin small business owner, reported $8,854.04 in contributions with $7,641.97 in cash on hand. Thomas reported $9,227.58 in expenditures.