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2010: "Reform" War in El Paso

It's a battle of the "reformers" — Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Texans for Insurance Reform — out in El Paso, and the two are neck-and-neck.

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It's a battle of the "reformers" — Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Texans for Insurance Reform — out in El Paso, and the two are neck-and-neck.

TLR is giving barrels of money to Democrat Naomi Gonzalez, who is challenging long-time state Rep. Norma Chavez in the House District 76 primary. In the eight-day out report that candidates filed with the Texas Ethics Commission yesterday, Gonzalez reported raising $118,856 from Jan. 22 through Feb. 20. More than $100,000 — about 85 percent of the total she raised in the period — came from TLR which has lobbied long, hard and successfully for limits on damages in civil lawsuits. The contributions came as in-kind donations of services and campaign materials.

TIR is sending boatloads (these are approximate units of measurement) of money to Chavez. TIR is run by trial lawyers, the nemeses of TLR and limits on lawsuit damages. TIR and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association combined gave Chavez about $82,700. Their generosity accounted for 52 percent of the $158,386 Chavez took in from Jan. 22 through Feb. 20. Chavez's TIR contributions were also in-kind donations.

Looks like the money race is a close one. Will it be close enough in the ballot box to set up a runoff election like the El Paso Times poll predicted? We'll know in about a week.

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