In Houston Suburbs, Kulkarni Outraises 5-term Incumbent Pete Olson for the Second Quarter


Sri Preston Kulkarni

HOUSTON: Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress in TX-22, Sri Preston Kulkarni, outraised 5-term incumbent Pete Olson (R-TX) for the quarter beginning April 1 and ending on June 30, bringing in over $234,000 over that period. Despite having only begun his campaign in December, Kulkarni has also already outraised the incumbent in individual contributions for the entire campaign cycle, with $376,000 in individual contributions, compared to $359,000 for Olson.  Kulkarni has outraised all previous Democratic challengers in District 22 for the past eight years combined in this district, which covers the Greater Houston suburbs (Katy, Sugar Land, Richmond, Missouri City, Pearland, Friendswood). TX-22 is now one of seven Congressional districts in Texas where the Democratic nominee has outraised the Republican incumbent.

 Kulkarni attributes his success, like that of U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, to the power of the grassroots. Two-thirds of Rep. Olson’s funds came from PAC contributions, while Kulkarni refuses to take any corporate contributions, with 94% of contributions coming from individual donors. “All across Texas, we have seen the power of the grassroots. When a first-time candidate outraises a longtime incumbent, that’s a sign that the people of our district disappointed with their representation and are hungry for change. The 22nd district wants a candidate who represents them, not special interests. We reject corporate contributions because our constituents want to know that votes in Congress won’t be bought.” said Kulkarni.

 Kulkarni is also talking to a broader range of constituents than the incumbent, including those traditionally considered unlikely voters, as well as people who don’t strongly identify with either party. “This campaign is gaining momentum every day, by engaging all of its communities. Our team reflects the fact that our district is the most diverse in Texas and Fort Bend is the second most diverse county in the country.  We have Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish staff, and are gender inclusive. One in four of our volunteers is under 25. We’re reaching out to voters in 13 different languages. Olson has been silent or supportive as leaders of his party have pushed back on gender equality and encouraged religious and ethnic tension across the country. We have focused on universal values, such as keeping families and children healthy, educated, and safe. Outraising the incumbent is a clear sign that the people of this district want a candidate who cares more about building and unifying this district. That’s exactly what we plan to do.”