For the amount of money he spent in Tuesday's primary, Farouk Shami could have purchased each of his 87,268 voters, say, haircuts for about six months — or, perhaps, a high-end model CHI, his signature hair straightener.

The Houston Democrat and hair-care executive spent $135 per voter, records show, more than any other candidate on Tuesday's primary election ballot — and, by far, the most of any losing candidate.

By contrast, Railroad Commission candidate David Porter, who surprised political observers by knocking off Republican incumbent Victor Carrillo, essentially paid 5 cents for each vote cast in support of his campaign. And that isn't even the cheapest ballot box bang for the buck: Bill Burton, running in the Demcratic primary for land commissioner, lost narrowly to Hector Uribe despite spending only 2 cents per vote — and even though Uribe himself only spent 7 cents per vote.

Here's a list of the top 10 per-vote spenders: 

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Candidate Race Party Votes Pct Result Per voter
Farouk Shami Governor D 87,268 12.8% Loss $135
Loretta A. Haldenwang House D 1,044 55.7% Win $115
Van Taylor House R 4,581 33.5% Runoff $98
Susan Curling House R 3,061 20.0% Runoff $83
Tara Rios Ybarra House D 6,708 43.1% Loss $72
Martin Basaldua House R 1,954 12.8% Loss $72
Sandra Rodriguez House D 5,093 41.9% Loss $66
Sergio Munoz Jr. House D 7,071 58.1% Win $58
Norma P. Chavez House D 3,988 46.2% Runoff $56
Wayne S. Richard House R 3,485 25.5% Loss $53


Here's the bottom 10 — the candidates who spent the least per voter.

Candidate Race Party Votes Pct Result Per voter
Ken Mercer SBOE R 75,369 69.1% Win $0.18
Sharon K. Russell Senate R 15,517 29.1% Loss $0.17
Robert M. Bohmfalk SBOE D 2,252 6.0% Loss $0.13
Josiah James Ingalls SBOE D 3,574 9.6% Loss $0.11
Eva M. Guzman SCOTX R 721,437 65.3% Win $0.11
Hector Uribe Land D 292,486 51.7% Win $0.07
Don McLeroy SBOE R 57,528 49.6% Loss $0.05
George M. Clayton SBOE R 37,533 51.8% Win $0.05
David J. Porter Railroad R 732,885 60.7% Win $0.05
Bill Burton Land D 273,034 48.3% Loss $0.02


You can explore all the campaigns' per-voter spending with our latest data application

Meet Paige: Our new Facebook Messenger bot helps you keep track of the 85th Legislature. Subscribe by messaging HELLO to Learn more.

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.

Start the conversation