Millions Fund Last Month of Texas Campaigns

The state's political economy hummed with $43.5 million in contributions to and between candidates and political action committees between Sept. 24 and Oct. 23, according to the most recent reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

There were more than 45,000 transactions during the final weeks of the campaign season, but the money was concentrated at the top, in 784 transactions totaling $24.4 million. The biggest contribution: $3 million to Rick Perry's re-election campaign from the Republican Governors Association.

The governor's race, not surprisingly, is where you find the most money. Perry raised $8.4 million, spent an astonishing $16.1 million and ended the month with $2 million in his campaign account. Democrat Bill White raised $3.7 million, spent $6.1 million and ended the month with $487,468 on hand. In the 30-day reports a month ago, White's spending was higher than Perry's; his campaign says he pre-purchased his advertising while Perry waited. Perry's campaign doesn't dispute that but says it's running a heavier schedule of ads than White is. Other candidates in the governor's race — Libertarian Kathie Glass and the Green Party's Deb Shafto — each raised and spent about as much as most uncontested House candidates: Glass raised $6,590 and spent $18,569; Shafto raised $650 and spent $1,122. They're not in financial contention.

In other statewide races, as in past reports, Republicans are outraising and outspending Democrats by wide margins.

The eight-day totals in statewide races (asterisks indicate incumbents):

 
District Name P Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand Loans
Gov. Bill White D $3,698,631 $6,121,887 $487,468 $0
  Rick Perry * R $8,404,584 $16,104,537 $2,032,231 $0
Lt. Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson D $125,817 $286,110 $74,418 $0
  David Dewhurst * R $1,286,701 $3,391,888 $1,816,331 $1,137,500
AG Barbara Ann Radnofsky D $28,099 $32,314 $353,543 $0
  Greg Abbott * R $420,936 $3,062,179 $9,289,961 $0
Land Hector Uribe D $8,104 $5,109 $6,829 $0
  Jerry Patterson * R $213,069 $582,560 $442,843 $0
Agriculture Hank Gilbert D $8,678 $10,278 $93,909 $0
  Todd Staples * R $455,781 $120,035 $1,100,710 $0
Railroad Jeff Weems D $20,893 $46,011 $374 $0
  David Porter R $163,818 $131,001 $133,542 $115,000

Source: Texas Ethics Commission

The reports filed with the state reflect contributions, expenditures, cash on hand and loans outstanding for candidates and PACs from the end of the last report through last Saturday. These so-called "eight-day reports" are the last full filings before Election Day; in fact, candidates don't have to provide a full accounting of what they do during the next week until January. They do, however, have to file instant reports of any contributions over $1,000 between now and Nov. 2.

The reports were due on Monday — eight days before the election; most but not all of them are available online, and all of them will be once they're filed and processed, hopefully in time for voters to have a peek before heading into the voting booth.

The highest number of contributors gave small amounts, and the smallest number of contributors gave large amounts. Some numbers:

• 22,506 transactions were for less than $100 and averaged $30.57 each. They totaled $688,138.

• 17,073 transactions were greater than $100 and less than $1,000, averaging $187.37 and totaling $4.2 million.

• 5,207 contributions fell in the $1,000 to $9,999 range, averaged $2,143.66 and totaled $11.2 million.

• The remaining 784 transactions, in amounts of $10,000 or more, averaged $34,987 and totaled $27.4 million. Even without the Governors Assocation's $3 million gift to Perry, the top group accounted for more than half of the money in the financial machinery during the last month.

Some of that money gets counted twice: Someone gives to a political action committee, for instance, which in turn gives to a candidate. Since both filed reports, both contributions get counted — even though they involve the same dollars. And some of the money counted here wasn't given in the form of checks but in what are termed "in-kind contributions," in which a donor pays for services or advertising or whatever on behalf of a campaign instead of giving the campaign money to do that itself. Even with those caveats, it's an expensive season in politics.

Big contributors during the month include Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, who, combined with donations from his wife, Amber, and his law firm, wrote checks for $2.5 million to Democrats. Houston home builder Bob Perry, with his wife, Doylene, contributed $1.2 million to Republicans. Dallas investor Harold Simmons, a Republican, gave $970,000. Texans for Insurance Reform, affiliated with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, gave $773,984. The group's opposite, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, gave a total of $2.2 million. The Texas Democratic Trust gave $653,000. American Crossroads, the Karl Rove/Ed Gillespie PAC involved in races all over the country, gave $600,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee PAC, which is supporting GOP challengers in statehouse races. Associated Republicans of Texas put $781,594 into various races. A PAC called the Grassroots Institute of Texas gave $679,870, which is interesting because it has recorded only $14,750 in contributions and loans in its entire history. The House Democratic Campaign Committee was in for $512,475. And House Speaker Joe Straus, whose re-election to that office depends on a Republican majority in the House, gave $480,000 to the state GOP and to various Republican incumbents in tough races.

The eight-day totals in the most competitive House races (asterisks indicate incumbents):

District Name P Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand Loans
HD-1 Stephen Frost * D $230,056 $120,516 $75,572 $0
  George Lavender R $325,824 $227,677 $12,584 $0
HD-3 Mark Homer * D $219,953 $256,224 $113,511 $0
  Erwin Cain R $203,107 $267,564 $77,442 $0
HD-34 Abel Herrero * D $132,424 $224,490 $78,504 $0
  Connie Scott R $269,096 $188,544 $94,506 $0
HD-45 Patrick Rose * D $249,662 $699,279 $212,809 $0
  Jason Isaac R $149,331 $431,825 $85,796 $350,250
HD-47 Valinda Bolton * D $244,472 $290,905 $35,071 $0
  Paul Workman R $217,422 $236,862 $95,084 $15,000
HD-52 Diana Maldonado * D $221,432 $210,213 $116,954 $0
  Larry Gonzales R $423,650 $176,302 $167,292 $0
HD-56 John Mabry D $268,759 $53,843 $10,021 $0
  Charles "Doc" Anderson * R $93,394 $60,620 $60,285 $0
HD-57 Jim Dunnam * D $300,786 $188,497 $7,084 $11,000
  Marva Beck R $578,227 $148,606 $49,169 $0
HD-78 Joe Moody * D $239,714 $99,207 $43,996 $0
  Dee Margo R $341,714 $221,167 $217,294 $126,000
HD-85 Joe Heflin * D $301,751 $89,806 $55,592 $0
  Jim Landtroop R $396,565 $130,675 $146,340 $0
HD-96 Chris Turner * D $217,126 $282,549 $166,399 $0
  Bill Zedler R $437,218 $39,640 $53,453 $0
HD-101 Robert Miklos * D $247,132 $92,548 $49,197 $0
  Cindy Burkett R $415,883 $224,673 $92,700 $0
HD-102 Carol Kent * D $348,621 $254,176 $71,102 $0
  Stefani Carter R $474,360 $260,427 $106,894 $0
HD-105 Loretta Haldenwang D $90,559 $28,077 $34,150 $0
  Linda Harper-Brown * R $276,199 $245,847 $112,940 $51,846
HD-113 Jamie Dorris D $243,093 $29,255 $24,542 $0
  Joe Driver * R $261,926 $305,115 $67,880 $0
HD-133 Kristi Thibaut * D $119,649 $149,811 $74,263 $0
  Jim Murphy R $172,222 $195,210 $158,670 $0

Source: Texas Ethics Commission

 

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