The Texas Tribune has an interesting analysis today on the amount spent per vote by each Texas primary candidate. Some of the numbers aren’t surprising – Wendy Davis, for example, spent a hefty $9.66 per vote, but also came away with 78 percent of the Democratic vote for governor – while others are eye-popping. Like the figures for Republican Nghi T. Ho, who spent $17,000 on his campaign for HD 149 but came away with a measly 1,523 votes- $11.35 per voter.
And then, of course, there’s the Democratic ag commissioner race, which caused a minor Internet fire when it was revealed that Jim Hogan, a Cleburne insurance salesman, had forced a runoff with Kinky Friedman – despite having a low-key campaign that didn’t garner much media attention, outside of a writeup in the local paper. Indeed, the Tribune figures show that Hogan spent just 2 cents per vote, compared to 34 cents for Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III, who ran a “serious” campaign but finished in last place. (My take? Fitzsimons would have had more success had he chosen a less ornate name for the ballot. Stupid, but when voters have little information to go on, they make their choice on what they’re given. And sometimes, all they have are ballot names.)
All of this goes to show that Texas political campaigns- particularly for downballot races and especially for poorly-attended Democratic downballot races – can be a real crapshoot, financially speaking. You could empty your pockets and come up extremely short. Or, like Jim Hogan, you could go the thrifty route and succeed with flying colors. Until we get more voters through the doors of Democratic primaries, these races will continue to be like the Wild West.
Photo by 401(K) 2013/Flickr