The Texas Senate race is already shaping up to be a barn burner — Democratic Rep. Colin Allred’s initial fundraising haul is an early sign that the Lone Star State will once again host an expensive Senate race.
Allred raised more than $2 million in the first 36 hours of his campaign, NBC News’ Daniel Arkin reports. That’s more than GOP Sen. Ted Cruz raised during the first three months of the year, when he hauled in $1.3 million. Cruz did end the first fundraising quarter on March 31 with $3.3 million in his campaign account. Allred’s House campaign had $2.2 million, which could be transferred to his Senate run.
Texas is one of Senate Democrats’ few pickup opportunities next year, and a tough one at that. But a well-funded Democratic challenger could force Republicans to spend money in the Lone Star state, diverting money away from Republican efforts to flip blue Senate seats.
The race is already getting heated, with Allred criticizing Cruz for spending time hosting a podcast, which releases three episodes per week. Cruz defended his podcasting, telling Insider that it is popular “because people found it valuable to understand what was happening in the Senate.”
“That is not somehow peripheral to doing the job,” Cruz said. “It is integral to doing the job.”
In other campaign news…
Party time: Former President Donald Trump has only sparingly mentioned the word “Republican” as in speeches, interviews, and videos, NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard and Jonathan Allen report.
Standing by their man: Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ big donors are largely standing by him, USA Today reports, although they acknowledged that he “has faced setbacks and that beating Trump would be difficult.” DeSantis (who is not officially in the race yet) also picked up an endorsement from New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn), per the New Hampshire Journal.
Preaching to the choir: The Washington Post delves into the so-called “J6 Prison Choir,” who Trump featured at his first rally, identifying five of the 15 men captured on video singing the Star Spangled Banner in prison. “Four of them were charged with assaulting police, using weapons such as a crowbar, sticks and chemical spray, including against Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died the next day,” the Post reports.
Trump trial: Both sides of the civil trial against Trump, where he faces allegations of rape and defamation from write E. Jean Carroll, rested their cases on Thursday, with closing arguments expected on Monday if Trump decides not to testify.
Outside help: President Joe Biden is getting some outside help in his push to raise the debt ceiling, with outside groups pressuring vulnerable Republicans on the issue, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
Peach state primary: Democrats’ effort to make Georgia an early primary state was stymied Thursday when GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced he was scheduling the presidential primary for March 12, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Raskin askin’ (about a Senate bid): TIME Magazine reports that Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, the former lead impeachment manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial, is considering a Senate bid and will be “taking the month of May” to decide on a run.
The tax man cometh: Spectrum News’ Taylor Popielarz spoke with Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown about reporting from NBC News’ Henry Gomez cataloging the senator’s late tax payments and questionable claiming of a tax credit.
Craft and Cruz: Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz backed Kentucky Republican Kelly Craft, the former ambassador to the United Nations, in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary and will campaign with her next week.
The Santos latest: Semafor reports that the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the House Ethics Committee dismiss a sexual harassment claim against New York GOP Rep. George Santos “because there is not substantial reason to believe that Rep. Santos sexually harassed or discriminated against the complainant.”