Cornyn has $12 million for reelection bid, raised $2.8 million in fourth quarter

U.S. Senator John Cornyn delivers a state of Congress address to area leaders Friday, January 12, 2018 at the Knapp Conference Center in Weslaco.

By Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has $12.1 million in the bank for his reelection bid after collecting $2.75 million over the last three months, according to his campaign.

The numbers, first shared with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday, continue to give Cornyn a massive advantage as he awaits the outcome of a crowded Democratic primary. The contenders include MJ Hegar, who announced Tuesday that she raised over $1.1 million in the fourth quarter and has $1 million cash on hand.

No other candidates have shared their fourth-quarter numbers yet ahead of a Friday deadline to report them to the Federal Election Commission.

Detailing his latest haul, Cornyn’s campaign said two-thirds of donations came from Texans, 94% of contributions were $100 or less, and 12,000 people gave for the first time.

Hegar, meanwhile, has accrued over 29,000 donors since starting her campaign in April, according to her campaign. A majority of her donations continue to come from Texas, and 9 in 10 continue to be $100 or less. Her average online donation in the fourth quarter was $22.

While Cornyn faces minimal opposition for his party’s nomination, Hegar is fighting to emerge from a 12-way primary that is likely to go to a runoff. She was endorsed late in the fourth quarter — Dec. 16 — by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

A Texas Lyceum poll released Wednesday morning found that the primary continues to be fraught with uncertainty. Forty-two percent of voters are still undecided, and while Hegar leads with 11%, several rivals are clustered behind her. The margin of error for the poll was plus-or-minus 5 percentage points.

With more than $1.1 million raised, Hegar had her best quarter yet by a small margin. Cornyn’s $2.75 million haul was down from the $3.2 million he raised in the third quarter but still marked his second-best three-month stretch of 2019.

While other Democratic candidates have not yet offered their latest fundraising figures, some have given hints. Chris Bell, the former Houston congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee, has said he raised “around the same” as what he did in the previous quarter, which was $207,000. The campaign of progressive organizer Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez has said she was expected to have raised $1 million total after the fourth quarter, meaning she would have collected at least $541,000 during that three-month period.