The 2012 election marked the arrival of the political entities known as Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited funds from individual and corporate donors. Super PACs received nearly constant attention at the national level, particularly in the presidential election. But in deep-red Texas, where Mitt Romney's victory was a foregone conclusion, two other federal races — the Congressional District 23 battle between Francisco "Quico" Canseco and Pete Gallego, and the Republican primary clash between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat — saw the most Super PAC action.
But perhaps the bigger story was the money flowing out of the state into the coffers of Super PACs nationwide. Texas donors gave more than $100 million to these groups.
Below, we have prepared visuals for both sides of the coin. Take a look at which candidates received help from a Super PAC, and which Texans gave the most money to Super PACs.
Super PAC Spending in Texas
Twelve separate Texas races felt the influence of a Super PAC, but the U.S. Senate race and CD-23 race drew the highest amounts of spending — a combined $15.9 million.
In the Senate primary, Dewhurst spent nearly $20 million, and loaned more than $16.5 million of his on money to his campaign. But Super PACs pushed the amount spent in the race even higher, hitting each candidate with $5 million worth of attacks. Despite Dewhurst's financial advantage, Cruz won the Republican nomination and then easily won the general election.
The close CD-23 race between Canseco and Gallego recorded the second-highest amount of super PAC involvement in Texas, with a combined $2.5 million spent in opposition and support of both candidates.
|Candidate||Party||Race||District||Won/Lost?||Super PAC Support||Super PAC Opposition|
|Brady, Kevin||R||U.S. House||8||Won||$167.12||$0.00|
|Farenthold, Blake||R||U.S. House||27||Won||$0.00||$7,023.22|
|Gallego, Pete||D||U.S. House||23||Won||$185,670.99||$1,093,935.21|
|Hall, Ralph Moody||R||U.S. House||4||Won||$0.00||$167,370.80|
|Stockman, Steve||R||U.S. House||36||Won||$1,900.75||$0.00|
|Veasey, Marc||D||U.S. House||33||Won||$108,988.00||$0.00|
|Weber, Randy||R||U.S. House||14||Won||$0.00||$62,036.50|
|Canseco, Francisco Raul "Quico"||R||U.S. House||23||Lost||$9,025.50||$1,308,000.07|
|Clayton, Taj||D||U.S. House||30||Lost||$16,508.99||$40,070.01|
|Puente Bradshaw, Jessica||R||U.S. House||34||Lost||$1,175.79||$0.00|
|Reyes, Silvestre||D||U.S. House||16||Lost||$6,848.23||$240,000.00|
|Riddle, Wesley Allen||R||U.S. House||25||Lost||$5,042.34||$0.00|
|Williams, Michael||R||U.S. House||25||Lost||$172,721.08||$0.00|
|Cruz, Ted||R||U.S. Senate||–||Won||$1,903,361.55||$5,873,432.30|
|Dewhurst, David||R||U.S. Senate||–||Lost||$546,745.00||$5,031,329.23|
|James, Craig||R||U.S. Senate||–||Lost||$120,000.00||$0.00|
|Leppert, Tom||D||U.S. Senate||–||Lost||$0.00||$390,500.00|
Texas Donors to Super PACs
Texas donors provided more than $100 million to Super PACs. Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who donated $22.2 million, makes up nearly one-fifth of that total. Perry's largest single recipient was the Romney-supporting Restore Our Future, which received $10.7 million. Perry also gave $7.5 million to the pro-GOP American Crossroads. Another fifth of that total came from Dallas billionare Harold Simmons, who by name and through his company Contran Corporation gave a combined $25.6 million. Like Perry, much of this went to one group, American Crossroads, which received $19.5 million from Simmons.
Each color on the chart represents one of the top 20 Super PAC recipients of Texas money. To view the individual donors who have given at least $10,000 to a group, click on the PAC to zoom in.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.