Following the Money in the Texas 8th Congressional District Primary

The campaign finance reports are out and the Texas Citizen Journal has been digging through the minutiae of Federal Election Commission filings from Congressional District 08 candidates so you don’t have to. The Republican Primary for the open seat is sure to be an expensive one, and candidates will realistically need to raise over a million dollars to be competitive.

So far retired Navy SEAL Morgan Luttrell is dominating the fundraising game, having brought in over $461,000 in contributions as of the first report. Luttrell is the brother of Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell and is deeply connected to former governor Rick Perry. He has the backing of many of Montgomery County’s local officials.

Former Houston Assistant Fire Chief and businessman Jerry Ford has the second largest war chest, with $100,000- all of which he donated to himself. Ford ran against Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) in the 2020 Democrat primary. He is has filed as a Republican for CD-08.

Attorney and retired Navy JAG Jonathan Hullihan has raised $82,014, which includes a $20,000 contribution to his own campaign. Hullihan has garnered significant support among community leaders in East Montgomery County.

Paulette Carson, a Republican activist from Trinity County, raised $5,710.

The only Democrat to file a report for CD-08 so far is Laura Jones, who has raised $11,089. Jones sought the Democrat nomination in 2020, but lost the primary to Elizabeth Hernandez. CD-08 is one of the most heavily Republican districts in the country and is not expected to be competitive.

Ryan Jarchow, Rudy Atencio, Jonathan Mitchell, Jameson Ellis, Taylor Whichard, Daniel McKaughan all filed with the FEC but did not report receiving any contributions.

State Representative Steve Toth (R-Conroe) has not announced a campaign for Congress, however, he is widely considered to be a potential candidate. Toth currently has $91,649 in cash on hand in his state campaign account. Former Brady campaign manager Christian Collins hasn’t announced either but says he is “strongly considering” a congressional run.

Fundraising numbers are one of the most important metrics to judge a candidate’s electoral viability. The candidate who raises the most money doesn’t necessarily always win, but campaigns are expensive and it takes a lot of money to get your message out to the voters.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Hullihan was a retired Navy SEAL. The article has been updated to state that Hullihan was a Navy JAG attorney who advised the SEALs.

Published by Reagan Reed

Reagan is a journalist and educator from East Texas. He has been involved in numerous campaigns, worked at the Texas Legislature, and covered Texas politics for years as a journalist.

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