Race to Raise: Turner vs. Luby Ryan

Small businesswoman and interior designer Lisa Luby Ryan (R) will face off against trial attorney John Turner (D) to represent Texas House District 114 this November. The district, which encompasses North Dallas and Lake Highlands, is yet another DFW Metroplex legislative seat widely considered a toss-up.

The seat has long been held by Republicans, but Clinton won the district by 8.9 percentage points over Trump in 2016. Those results, along with increased Democrat energy for the midterms, have given Democrats hope that Turner can flip the seat from red to blue.

Turner boasts an impressive educational resume including degrees from both Harvard and Yale. As a law partner with Haynes and Boone, LLP, Turner represented 88 school districts who sued the state of Texas over its school finance system. Although Turner lost at the Texas Supreme Court, his involvement sparked an interest in running for office and garnered the support of groups advocating for increased state spending on public education.

Ryan has long been involved in local Republican politics, including having served as the President of the Park Cities Republican Women’s Club. She owns several small businesses in the district and has shared her story of abuse, abortion, divorce, and redemption on the well-known Christian outlet, I Am Second.


Here’s a quick look at the numbers:

Texas House District 114 – By The Numbers
Lisa Luby Ryan (R) John Turner (D)
Total Money Raised $780,591.64 $574,236.26
Total Number of Donations 872 889
Average Donation Amount $895.17 $645.94
Total Money Raised In-District $377,483.93 $170,081.65
Total Number of Donations In-District 486 457
Percent of All Money Raised In-District 48.36% 29.62%
Total Money Raised Outside District $403,107.71 $404,154.61
Total Number of Donations Outside District 386 432
Percent of All Money Raised Outside District 51.64% 70.38%
Total Expenditures in Primary $295,919.21 $62,458.95
Total Votes in Primary 6,417 8,914
Cost Per Vote in Primary $46.11 $7.01
Total Expenditures $463,118.31 $397,684.82

While Turner ran unopposed in the primary, Luby Ryan pulled off a surprising primary upset to oust three-term Republican incumbent House Representative Jason Villalba. Luby Ryan ran to the right of the more liberal Villalba, who is known for his opposition to Trump and his late night Twitter rants. Villalba has not endorsed Luby Ryan.

Key Takeaways from the HD 114 Race:

  1. Governor Abbott Ponies Up Cash
    With more than $27 million in his campaign account, many politicos have wondered whether Governor Greg Abbott would use some of that cash to support down-ballot Republicans who, unlike Abbott, are actually in close races. While he has not gotten involved in several other tight Metroplex match-ups, Abbott has endorsed Luby Ryan and donated $28,320.12 to her campaign.
  2. Texas Realtors PAC backs Turner
    Texas realtors, via their two well-funded political PACs, are major players in Texas politics. Typically, the Texas Association of Realtors PAC supports candidates from Texas’s Liberal-Republican tribe. Their $26,000 donation to Turner may suggest they find Luby Ryan too conservative for their liking.
  3. All Shades of Red Support the Decorator
    Republicans from all corners of the party are contributing to Luby Ryan’s campaign. Her donor list includes conservatives Texas Right to Life PAC ($36,275.00) and Catherine Taylor ($10,000.00), moderates  Texans for Lawsuit Reform ($35,659.75) as well as Lisa and Kenny Troutt ($15,000.00), and even more liberal Republicans such as former State Sen. John Carona ($9,00.00) and G. Brint Ryan ($50,000.00).

Before you go…

John Turner’s father, Jim Turner, was a Texas House Representative, State Senator, and U.S. Congressman during  the nineties and early 2000s. Even though the elder Turner has been out of office for 14 years, he still had enough cash in his congressional campaign account to be the top contributor to his son’s Texas House bid, donating $95,000.00.


Our Race to Raise series takes a deeper look at the most high-profile races of the election cycle, focusing specifically on money raised by those seeking to serve in public office. Stay tuned for the next installment.

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