Republicans spent almost $1 million last month to boost state Rep. John Lujan in a San Antonio district the GOP has never won in a general election.
Lujan has twice represented Texas’ House District 118 after winning special elections in 2015 and 2021, but his party has yet to carry the seat in a higher-turnout election year.
A campaign finance report covering Oct. 1 through Oct. 29 indicates Lujan received $1.12 million in campaign contributions, including $971,000 worth of in-kind help like polling, TV ads and consulting paid for by outside groups.
Ramirez brought in about $240,000 in that same span, including about $113,000 in in-kind contributions. Lujan heads into the campaign’s final days with $292,000 on hand but has roughly $134,000 in unpaid bills to campaign consultants. Ramirez has $43,000 on hand to spend.
The district was redrawn last year to become more favorable for Republicans, though President Joe Biden would have carried the new district by 2.73%, according to data provided by Lujan’s campaign.
“Sometimes as a candidate I get nervous, because people have invested in me,” Lujan told supporters last month at Pica Pica Plaza, where he was the guest of honor at a luncheon hosted by Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR), a political action committee. “… I’m thinking, ‘What if I don’t win?’ That’s just always a big thing on my mind.”
Though Lujan has not yet served in a legislative session, he received an award for his service that day from TLR, which is one of his top campaign contributors. In October the group spent $213,000 on polling, direct mail and grassroots work to help him in his race against Ramirez.
Associated Republicans of Texas, a group known for helping moderate Republicans, chipped in another $191,000 for Lujan’s campaign last month. A PAC aligned with law enforcement agents spent $77,000, and House Speaker Dade Phelan partnered with the Republican State Leadership Committee to spend another $344,000.
Lujan said in an interview last month that Phelan recruited him for the special election and promised to help fund the campaign. The House speaker also has chipped in to help Lujan’s fellow Bexar County Republican, state Rep. Steve Allison, in his reelection race against Democrat Becca Moyer DeFelice.
Ramirez’s biggest campaign contributions last month came from labor organizations. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees PAC gave $40,000 to his campaign, and a labor group called Fair Shot for Texas Workers provided in-kind advertising and campaign work.
State legislators in Texas make $7,200 per year, meaning most must have another job.
Lujan, a former San Antonio firefighter, owns his own IT company, which has recently come under scrutiny for doing business with a state agency Lujan oversees.
Ramirez is a former staffer for two San Antonio City Council members and a former chief of staff for former state Rep. Tomas Uresti. Ramirez left his job in August to campaign full time.
House District 121
Republicans seem more confident in their ability to hold this seat, yet plenty of money has flowed in to help Allison, a former president of the Alamo Heights Independent School District board.
He brought in $466,000, including $281,000 worth of in-kind contributions from Phelan, Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the Associated Republicans of Texas, according to a campaign finance report covering Oct. 1 through Oct. 29. He heads into the final days before the Nov. 8 election with $184,000 on hand.
DeFelice reported raising $126,000 in the same span, including in-kind help from the Fair Shot for Texas PAC. She spent $140,000 last month, and has $15,000 on hand for the final days.
House District 122
The race to replace retiring Republican state Rep. Lyle Larson drew millions of dollars in the GOP primary and primary runoff. Since then candidates have raised and spent little for the general election.
Republican Mark Dorazio brought in $20,000 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 29. He spent $6,000 and had just under $60,000 left in cash on hand. Democrat Angi Aramburu reported raising just $7,000 in the same span. She spent $5,000 and had about $4,000 on hand.