Tom Leppert’s campaign announced that it raised $640,000 in donations in Q3. In addition, it announced that Leppert, as he did in Q2, threw in another half million of his own money.
Those are significant sums, and by no means disasterous, but it’s slightly less than the $750,000 in contributions he raised in Q2, which was, in turn, less than the $1 million in contributions and $1.6 million in self-funding he raised in Q1.
So far Leppert has run a relatively smart and disciplined campaign, and currently has more cash on hand than Cruz, but he’s still in third place. He hasn’t generated the grassroots enthusiasm and buzz that Cruz has, and I’m reasonably sure he can’t self-fund at nearly the level David Dewhurst can. Though Leppert has positioned himself as a conservative (and issued many conservative position papers on a range of issues), he seems to draw more from Dewhurst’s establishment base in the business community, and the slight decrease in Q3 numbers may indicate that Dewhurst is already eating into those funding sources. Further, I see no signs that Leppert has successfully moved beyond his geographical base of support in the greater Dallas Metroplex.
On the plus side, Leppert hasn’t seen quite the falloff in donations predicted by Cruz consultant Jason Johnson and he’s continued to attend the candidate forums (though he does not seem to be generating a lot of enthusiasm at them), which is more than you can say for Dewhurst. Also, no more skeletons have fallen out of his closet since the SEIU and ACORN revelations. That might change. (I might even shake a bone or two myself in coming weeks…)
Obviously the Cruz campaign would like to see Leppert drop out to make it a clear one-on-one campaign against Dewhurst. However, while Leppert has not set the grass roots on fire, he has run a solid race, which is more than you can say for Elizabeth Ames Jones. If things continue on in the same vein, Leppert is well-positioned if one of the frontrunners stumbles or withdraws. After all, it’s politics, and stranger things have happened.
However, right now Leppert is clearly in third place, and I expect Cruz’s new, National Review-boosted profile to result in a Q4 contribution increase sufficient to erase Leppert’s current self-funded edge in cash-on-hand.
Leppert is hanging tough and running a competitive campaign, but in the end I don’t think that will be enough to get him into the runoff.
(Edited to add: After I published, this I noticed that the Dallas Morning News link at the top had been updated to say that Elizabeth Ames Jones pulled in $235,000 for Q3. He doesn’t provide a link for this, and I can’t yet find confirmation on her website, Facebook page or Twitter feed. If true, I don’t see how Jones thinks she can compete with three candidates who all have ten times as much cash on hand as she does.)