Who raised and spent the most? Data shows congressional candidates finances ahead of primary election

These are the key races at the county, state and federal level for the San Antonio area

KSAT12's Fares Sabawi joins GMSA@9 to discuss the campaign finance reports of congressional candidates in the San Antonio area.

Get more election news on KSAT’s Vote 2022 page.

With less than a week until early voting begins Feb. 14, political campaigns are ramping up for the March 1 primary election.

Several big races will be on the midterm ballot for voters in the San Antonio area, including congressional representatives.

KSAT 12 analyzed the campaign finance reports of congressional candidates in the San Antonio area, revealing who has the fundraising advantage heading into the primary.

Early voting begins on Feb. 14. Election Day is March 1.

To check your voter registration status in Bexar County, click here. To find out which precinct you live in, click here.

Here’s a breakdown of federal races to watch in the San Antonio area, based on finance reports covering Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.

See the full Republican ballot here and Democratic ballot in Bexar County here.

Congressional District 15

  • Democratic candidates: Eliza Alvarado, Julio Garza, Ruben Ramirez, John Villarreal Rigney, Vanessa Stephanie Tijerina, Michelle Vallejo
  • Republican candidates: Sara Canady, Aizar Cavazos, Vangela Churchill, Monica De La Cruz, Mauro Garza, Angela Juarez, Ryan Krause, John Lerma, Steve Schmuker Jr.

Republicans are making a serious push to flip Congressional District 15, and the fundraising shows it.

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat who only narrowly beat Republican Monica De La Cruz in 2020, is now running in the newly redrawn Congressional District 34. The traditionally Democratic district was also redrawn to become more competitive during redistricting, giving De La Cruz an edge as she mounts another bid for the seat.

De La Cruz has outraised all other candidates, reporting more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions. Even after spending $921,051, she has the most cash on hand with more than $625,000.

Mauro Garza, one of De La Cruz’s Republican primary opponents, has raised more than $500,000 and spent more than $160,000 in the race, according to the data.

The Democratic primary looks to be more competitive, where six candidates are running for the nomination. John Villarreal Rigney led the way, raising more than $150,000. Roberto Haddad and Ruben Ramirez also raised more than $100,000, the data showed.

Redistricting also made the traditionally Democratic district more competitive, giving Republicans a better chance to flip the seat.


Congressional District 23

  • Democratic candidates: Priscilla Golden, John Lira
  • Republican candidates: Alma Arredondo-Lynch, Alìa Garcia, Tony Gonzales

After a narrow victory in 2020, Republican Tony Gonzales goes into this election with a big cash advantage over his opponents.

Gonzales’ campaign reported raising more than $2.2 million and spending $985,000.

One of his primary opponents, conservative dentist Alma Arredondo-Lynch, had not yet submitted her finance report.

The Democratic candidates have reported far more modest numbers. U.S. Marine Corps veteran John Lira has raised more than $250,000 and has spent more than $56,000.

Lira and Gonzales will likely clinch their party’s nominations and face each other in November.


Congressional District 28

  • Democratic candidates: Tannya Judith Benavides, Jessica Cisneros, Henry Cuellar
  • Republican candidates: Ed Cabrera, Steven Fowler, Cassy Garcia, Eric Hohman, Willie Vasquez Ng, Rolando Rodriguez, Sandra Whitten

Though Congressman Henry Cuellar has been elected to Congressional District 28 since 2005, he saw his most serious challenge in the 2020 Democratic primary. This year’s race will be even tougher for him after he became the subject of an FBI investigation earlier this year.

Still, Cuellar has a clear fundraising advantage over his opponents so far. The data showed Cuellar has raised more than $1.8 million. He also maintains more than $2.3 million cash on hand.

Immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros, who narrowly lost to Cuellar in the primary in 2020, came in second, raising more than $800,000.

On the Republican ticket, seven candidates are vying for the nomination.

Rancher Ed Cabrera holds the financial advantage in that race, raising more than $280,000. Willie Vazquez Ng, a former Bexar County Sheriff candidate, trailed behind Cabrera, raising more than $130,000.


Congressional District 35

  • Democratic candidates: Greg Casar, Eddie Rodriguez, Carla-Joy Sisco, Rebecca Viagran
  • Republican candidates: Bill Condict, Jenai Aragona, Marilyn Jackson, Alejandro Ledezma, Dan McQueen, Sam Montoya, Asa George Kent Palagi, Michael Rodriguez, Dan Sawatzki, Jennifer Sundt

This reliably Democratic district will have new representation after redistricting drew Congressman Lloyd Doggett out of it. Instead, Doggett will run for Congressional District 37, one of the state’s new seats.

Four Democrats are hoping to succeed him, and two of them have jumped out in fundraising.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar — who has racked up several endorsements from progressive politicians like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — reported raising more than $467,000. He also maintains the cash-on-hand advantage over his opponents.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez came in second, raising more than $250,000. Rodriguez has recently ramped up his campaign mailers and TV ads, hoping to establish himself as a clear alternative to Casar.

Former San Antonio City Council Member Rebecca Viagran has raised less than $50,000 in this race, trailing behind Casar and Rodriguez.

The Republican primary, meanwhile, is an even more crowded race with 10 candidates running for the party’s nomination. They include program scheduler Bill Condict, realtor Jenai Aragona, insurance agent Marilyn Jackson, construction worker Alejandro Ledezma, former 37-day mayor of Corpus Christi Dan McQueen, reporter Sam Montoya, soldier and entrepreneur Asa George Kent Palagi, household manager Michael Rodriguez, retired U.S. Air Force service member Dan Sawatzki and attorney Jennifer Sundt.

Read more on our Vote 2022 page:


About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.