Democratic Gubernatorial Race Sees Anemic Fundraising

For all the horrors that Democrats saw in the fallout from the 2016 Election, 2017 and 2018 have offered plenty of reasons for optimism.  With a new crop of candidates, tons of energy around organizing, and some shocking recent victories in Special Elections, even Texas Democrats are hoping for some serious magic in this November’s Elections.

But can they make magic, without money??

For all of the press and campaign energy, Texas’ two best hopes at retaking the Governor’s Office seem to have not produced major fundraising results.  As Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express- News reports, both candidates are barely noticeable on the campaign finance journey…

AUSTIN — Houston businessman Andrew White, working to break out of a crowded Democratic primary race for governor, said Monday he has made a $1 million loan to his campaign for the effort.

“I’m going to raise as much as I possibly can, and I’m going to spend it all,” White said, estimating the primary race will take several million dollars. He previously said he made a $40,000 loan to his campaign.

White and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez have received the bulk of the attention in a nine-way race for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has more than $43 million in his campaign account.

Valdez — who according to her campaign raised $48,504 in the first part of this year, including a $5,000 loan she made to herself — said in a statement that she isn’t concerned about White’s money.

“I came from humble beginnings as one of eight children born to migrant farm workers. I then spent my career in service to the people of Texas. I’m not wealthy, but I have a lot to be thankful for — including the grassroots support that’s powering my campaign and this movement. I’m not worried about Andrew White’s million-dollar campaign loan, because Texan Democrats can’t be bought, and we’ll prove that on election day,” she said.

Andrew White formally announced his campaign on December 7th, one full month ahead of Lupe Valdez‘s campaign kick-off.  However, it’s also worth noting that Valdez is a current elected official, while this is White’s first run at office.

So yes, it’s only been a total of two months since these folks hit the trail.  And yes, it is the Primary election, where many campaigns would prefer to save any potential resources for the General Election.  But whatever one’s situation, if these candidates are to be taken seriously in the race Texas Governor, the campaign contributions are going to have to improve rapidly. A credible challenger to juggernaut Greg Abbott should be starting their campaign with a six and seven figure war chest, because that’s what they will need to build some serious name ID across the state.

As a high profile elected official in the Dallas area, Sheriff Valdez is clearly up on the name ID front. But how is she going to reach voters in Midland, Mexia or Marfa on a $50,000 budget??

Mr. White has been gaining ground in recent weeks, and even racked up some impressive endorsements. With the press alone that his $1 million dollar self donation has generated, he’s proving that he can emerge from a crowded field. But the lack of diverse, small dollar donations is troublesome, and does not invite confidence in others to sign on to his effort.

So the game right now for Democrats really comes down to one thing above all… attention. How can a Democrat get their name and face out to 28 million citizens? Gubernatorial candidates would do well to take some cues from Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who has managed to combine an aggressive social media apparatus with a bold, 254 county shoe leather campaign. Whether he wins or loses, at Texans I’ll know that he is a viable choice for the job.

Both Valdez and White have met several times in various candidate forums.  Perhaps they, and other Primary candidates would consider holding a couple of live-stream debates before the Primary election?  Though most Texans aren’t yet paying attention, it could be a great way to further engage those that are ready to put their money to use.  However they choose to make those money moves, the time is NOW.

Somebody call Cardi B!!


TLCQ 2018: Tahir Javed

In the Ninth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Tahir Javed,  candidate for U.S. House, Texas’ 29th Congressional District.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.


TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

TJ:  Tahir Javed

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

TJ:  No.

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

Government is one of the highest public goods. It is the culmination of our collective will, values, and aims. Government has done much to lift people out of poverty, improve people’s health, provide economic opportunity, and abolish reprehensible systems of oppressive slavery. It is vital to helping us continue the march of progress, however slow and imperfect it may be at times, we must continue moving forward.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

TJ:  Increase access to affordable healthcare for all. Boost funding for schools to provide a quality education for all our students. Bring investment to create high paying jobs that pay a living wage.

First we need to stop the cuts to any funding for healthcare. If we can pick up enough seats, we need to begin pushing harder for Medicare for All. In the meantime, I will continue my work as the president and CEO of a healthcare system in Texas to provide underserved communities the much needed access to hospitals and clinics they need now.

The Texas legislature continues to kick the can down the road on adequately funding our schools. This is where we as congressman need to step up and do what we can when the state fails to honor parents, teachers, and students. Of course we need to increase the funding for education, we also need to be looking at how come up with funding amounts. States like Texas, and others who spend far less than others on education are actually punished by the allocation formulas of Title I. We need to revisit the funding formulas and find a way to make them work for those states with the poorest of students.

As a businessman I have ensured every person I employ receives a living wage. I think it is the duty of every business to pay their employees fairly because it makes sense for owners too—we should all want our employees focused on doing the best job, rather than on how to make ends meet—I will work to raise the minimum wage.

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.

TJ:  On the federal level, the Highway Trust Fund is on track to be in a 160 billion dollar hole. The last time anyone raised the taxes on gas was in 1993. We are long overdue on making the Highway Trust Fund solvent, and ensuring it is fully funded to meet the demands growth in many states like Texas, will need now and in the future. I support measures we can take to fully fund the Highway Trust Fund.

TL:  Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis.  According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.  Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens.  As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?  

TJ:  As a president and CEO of a healthcare system in Texas I have seen many under-served communities lose hospitals and clinics. My work has been concentrated on helping those communities losing access to healthcare by turning around failing facilities, and building more hospitals and clinics. I will continue this work in our community if I am elected. We need to continue the work of public-private partnerships to help bring these hospitals and clinics back to these communities. Our federal government needs to work to improve Obamacare and move to a single-payer system. We need healthcare for all.

TL:  In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act.  This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality.  Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.

TJ:  The decision by the Chairman of the FCC and the vote that followed to repeal Net Neutrality will have a negative effect on the market, and is an assault on the freedom of the internet. Given the current Trump administration’s stance on the issue, and the likelihood it would be hard to overturn, states should lead on protecting consumers till a change can be made at the federal level.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

TJ:  I am uniquely qualified not only as someone who has come to this country as an immigrant who worked his way from nothing to success, but because my professional experience compliments the problems our district faces.

Healthcare coverage in Texas, especially in our district, continues to be the lowest among the states, and the cost of it continues to rise. As CEO and president of one the fastest growing healthcare systems in Texas, I have spent time building hospitals and clinics, and turning around failing hospitals in the most rural and poor areas. I know how we can achieve affordable healthcare for all and lower cost.

Our graduation rates, college achievement, and overall school success is at an all time low. The state continues to do little to assist the poorer districts with the necessary funds to do more for our kids. They deserve a world class education. I was at a time a teacher. I eventually opened up my own school for underprivileged children where I grew up. My mission to help those around me started early in my career. It helps me understand what we need to be successful—more funding, higher teacher pay, smaller class sizes, and less focus on standardized test.

Our district has one of the lowest average incomes in southeast Texas. If we hope our hardworking families have the resources they need to achieve their own American Dream, we need high paying jobs that pay a living wage. I have created over 20 businesses, and with that thousands of jobs. It has been a belief of mine since I started my companies to pay my employees a living wage, and to ensure they had the best possible benefits. I think all businesses should lead by example. In the absence of their action, we should fight to raise the minimum wage.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

TJ:  I love to volunteer and donate to progressive causes, as well as those in need. I also enjoy reading poetry. My favorite thing is spending time with the love of my life, my wife, our beautiful children, and cooking a big meal for them all.


Thanks to Mr. Ashley for the responses.


Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)