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Democrat in top Texas House race raises $950,000 in second quarter

Democrat in top Texas House race raises $950,000 in second quarter
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Sri Kulkarni, the Democrat running to replace retiring Rep. Peter Olson (R) in Texas’s 22nd Congressional District, raised $950,000 in the second quarter of the year.

The haul is the most money ever raised in a quarter for the district, which is a top flip target for Democrats. Kulkarni, a former diplomat who narrowly lost in the same district in 2018, has raised more than $2.4 million for the entire cycle thus far and has $1.1 million in the bank.

“This record-breaking haul shows voters are responding to Sri’s message of compassion and reason in contrast to the two reckless extremists left standing in the Republican primary,” said Allen Chen, Kulkarni’s campaign manager.

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“Our strong fundraising means Sri will be able to share his message of fighting for quality, affordable health care and breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington regardless of which extremist candidate is nominated. We are building a movement and this is only the beginning for us.”

The haul comes as a boost for Democrats, who are eager to flip the seat after Kulkarni lost to Olson by 5 points two years ago. The party is confident that Kulkarni is in a better position, having already raised more money than he did last cycle, and that the race will be less of an uphill climb against a nonincumbent. 

Kulkarni, who has already clinched the Democratic nomination, will face off in November against either activist Kathaleen Wall or Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, depending on the results of a runoff next week.

Texas's 22nd District is precisely the kind where Democrats made gains in 2018 and are hoping to take even more ground in 2020. Olson’s seat covers the mostly suburban south-central part of the greater Houston area, among other neighborhoods. 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as a “toss-up.”