Democrat Jack McDonald surprised his supporters last month by dropping his 10-month bid for Congress. He said at the time he'd give money back to donors who want it back. Now come the details, in an email from the candidate to supporters. McDonald was planning to run against U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Austin, who still has to work his way past two Republicans, a Democrat, and a Libertarian to win another term in Congress.
Here's McDonald's refund plan:
Since announcing my decision not to run for Congress, I have received countless wonderful messages of friendship and I want to say thank you. I have been humbled by your support and honored that so many of you have encouraged me to consider running for office again.
As I have discussed with many of you individually, this was a tough decision for me to make on so many levels. On a personal level, both Carla and I felt the campaign was one of the most enjoyable and enriching experiences of our lives. And, yes, I would consider doing it again. I am deeply committed to public service and doing what I can to help others achieve a better life. In addition, I feel strongly that our nation needs more people in Washington who know how to create jobs, build our economy from the grassroots level up, keep America competitive and bring fiscal sanity to government.
That said, since we formed our Exploratory Committee 10 months ago, the environment in our District has changed considerably. Given that reality, and facing a January 4 deadline to file to put my name on the ballot, I concluded that 2010 was not the right year for me to run and the right and responsible thing to do was to not file and return the money to our contributors so the money could be invested in other important races.
As I said in my statement, my intention is to return all of the $1.1 million we raised and to personally pay for the approximately $200,000 in expenses incurred over 10 months for fundraising, polling, research and limited staff (we ran a tight ship and kept expenses low). Many of you have indicated that you do not want your contribution returned and would like it to be used to help cover our expenses. Others have asked that part of your contribution be used to cover expenses. I cannot tell you how touched I have been by your kindness and generosity. While greatly appreciated, this is by no means required.
So, as a next step, please reply as soon as possible (but no later than February 18) and indicate your wishes, for example:
• Please refund my entire contribution, or
• Please keep X of my contribution to help cover expenses, or
• Please keep 100% of my contribution to help cover expenses.
You can reply by email (email@example.com) or phone (512-906-0626) or by regular mail (McDonald Campaign, 611 South Congress Avenue, Suite 125, Austin, Texas 78704). An email reply is quickest and preferred.
A final housekeeping note: if you contributed more than $2,400 as an individual or $4,800 as a couple, any amount over that threshold will be automatically refunded to you since amounts over the threshold were being held in escrow for the general election.
Looking forward, I remain deeply committed to improving the lives of Texans and the many causes that I have worked hard for here in the state over the last decade: bringing major employers and jobs to Central Texas in my role as vice chairman of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce; bringing millions in state funding to Central Texas startups in my work as Chairman of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund for Central Texas; and continuing my nonprofit work to improve education and healthcare and build economic development opportunities for low-income Texans.
Thank you, again, for your wonderful friendship and support over the last 10 months. Carla and I will never forget it!