TX45 race heats up with ballooning fundraising totals and endorsements

Constituting+Hays+and+Blanco+counties%2C+Texas+House+District+45+was+held+by+a+Republican+representative%2C+former+State+Rep.+Jason+Isaac%2C+from+2011-2018.

Molly Gonzales

Constituting Hays and Blanco counties, Texas House District 45 was held by a Republican representative, former State Rep. Jason Isaac, from 2011-2018.

Chase Rogers, News Editor

Five candidates vying for the Texas House District 45 seat received several high-profile endorsements and over $220,000 in fundraising contributions from individuals, entities and political action committees.

Incumbent State Rep. Erin Zwiener faces Liliana Posada in the Democratic primary while Kent “Bud” Wymore, Carrie Isaac and Austin Talley are running in the GOP primary. Both primaries are slated for March 3.

According to campaign finance records from Texas House Ethics Commission, Zwiener, D-Driftwood, raised nearly as much as her three Republican challengers combined, totaling $109,400 from July 1-Dec. 31, 2019.

“With the most recent fundraising deadline behind us, I want to extend my sincere thanks to all of our amazing supporters!” Zwiener wrote on Twitter. “It’s my greatest honor to represent Hays and Blanco Counties in the Texas House. I couldn’t do it without y’all.”

Wymore, former chairman of the Hays County Republican Party and owner of The Wymore Law Firm, raised $57,500 in the last half of the year, out raising his Republican primary opponents. Isaac, wife of former District 45 State Rep. Jason Isaac, raised $51,700 during the same period.

Talley, a Kyle resident, raised $780 and Posada did not file a fundraising report.

The strong fundraising on the Republican side indicates the upcoming primary and subsequent election against the prevailing Democrat could be competitive.

Bar graph of fundraising data.

Contributions from individuals made up the lion’s share of Wymore’s and Issac’s haul for the 6-month period. Contributions from PACs and entities made up nearly 33% of Zwiener’s total fundraising haul. Data: Texas House Ethics Commission

District 45 is among 12 Democratic seats targeted by the Republican Party after having turned blue during the 2018 election cycle. Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey said the party is ramping up efforts to retain the GOP’s control of the state house. Data: Texas House Ethics Commission.

“We have raised more money, recruited more candidates, hired more staff and instituted more efforts at this point than in any prior cycle,” Dickey stated in a press release. “We are not just talking about winning Texas, we’re putting in the work to keep Texas red.”

Texas Democrats issued a press release Jan. 27 laying out their plans to hold onto the seats they flipped in 2018 and aims to gain nine seats in 2020 to seize control of the state house.

“Twenty-two Republican-held seats were won by less than ten points by the top of the ticket in 2018. We are targeting every single one of these seats in 2020,” Texas Democrats stated. “Together, Texas Democrats and allied organizations have developed a modern and unprecedented data-driven strategy, which includes a robust allied organizing infrastructure, candidate support services and cutting edge technology.”

Graph showing contributions by city.

Chase Rogers
Individuals from Austin contribute the most to Zwiener’s campaign compared to other cities. For Wymore, individuals from Wimberley contribute the most, for Issac, Dripping Springs. Data: Texas House Ethics Commission.

Zwiener reported having $75,300 cash on hand at the time of the filing deadline while Wymore and Issac reported $61,200 and $108,500 cash on hand respectively. Issac touted having the most cash on hand in a press release.

“(Issac) announced raising over $50,000 in the most recent fundraising period. This brings Isaac’s total funds raised since her announcement to over $150,000—more than any other Republican or Democrat candidate.”

Issac and Wymore have both netted significant endorsements from major players in their party.

Issac, a Wimberley resident, was officially endorsed by many current state-wide officer holders, including Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian. In addition, the National Rifle Association endorsed Issac Jan. 21 for the primary.

Wymore, who resides in Driftwood, netted endorsements from Hays County Commissioners Mark Jones and Walt Smith, 2018 Republican Hays County Judge candidate and Commissioner Will Conley and former District 45 Republican candidate Ken Strange.

Zwiener received endorsements from the Texas State Teachers Association, Texas State Employees Union and Clean Water Action Texas.

Early voting is scheduled for Feb. 18-28 and the primary is slated March 3. Election Day will be Nov. 3.

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