Cornyn raises $3.2 million in third quarter, pushing reelection war chest close to $11 million

Texas Tribune News

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn speaks at the American Legion Boys State ceremony on the south steps of the University of Texas at Austin tower on June 14, 2019.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn speaks at the American Legion Boys State ceremony on the south steps of the University of Texas at Austin tower on June 14, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has almost $11 million saved up for his reelection campaign after he raised close to $3.2 million in the third quarter, his campaign told The Texas Tribune on Monday.

The haul is Cornyn’s biggest yet this cycle after he raked in $2 million during the first quarter and $2.5 million in the second quarter. His latest fundraising left him with a little less than $10.8 million cash on hand, according to his campaign.

Cornyn is facing a crowded field of Democratic challengers, none of whom had announced their latest fundraising numbers until after Cornyn shared his Monday morning. In the afternoon, state Sen. Royce West‘s campaign said he raised $545,000 between when he announced his campaign in late July and the end of the quarter, which was Sept. 30. He has $365,000 in the bank.

The deadline to report the third-quarter figures to the Federal Election Commission is Oct. 15.

Detailing Cornyn’s third-quarter fundraising Monday, his campaign said 77% of donations were from Texas and 92% were $200 or less.

“As Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer try to impeach the president, the enthusiasm behind our campaign grows and grows,” Cornyn campaign manager John Jackson said in a statement, name-checking two of Cornyn’s Democratic opponents. “While Royce West and Chris Bell spend the next seven months attacking each other, we’ll be building a grassroots army across Texas ready to battle Elizabeth Warren and whoever wins the runoff.”

A number of Cornyn’s more prominent Democratic challengers entered the race over the last three months, meaning their third-quarter fundraising reports will serve as the first real indicator of their viability. Candidates who declared in the third quarter include West, the longtime state senator from Dallas; Bell, the former Houston congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee; Amanda Edwards, a member of the Houston City Council; and Cristina TzintzĂșn Ramirez, a progressive organizer.

MJ Hegar, the former Air Force helicopter pilot and 2018 U.S. House contender, announced against Cornyn in late April and laid down the first fundraising marker in the primary, raising over $1 million through June.

While the Democratic candidates are still proving themselves in the money race, the state Democratic Party weighed in Monday on Cornyn’s latest haul.

“With dismal approval ratings and a weak and self-serving effort to tie himself at the hip to Donald Trump, Trump’s ‘biggest ally’ John Cornyn is going to need all of the money he can get,” party spokesman Abhi Rahman said. “It won’t matter. Texans are done with the Trump-Cornyn sideshow and will vote them both of office in November 2020.”