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Data App: How Much Votes Cost

Was Farouk Shami, in fact, "on fire"? The Democratic gubernatorial candidate burned through campaign cash, spending $135 for every vote he received in Tuesday's primary on the way to getting trounced by Bill White — more than any other candidate on the ballot, and by far the most of any losing candidate. By contrast, Democratic land commissioner hopeful Bill Burton spent only 2 cents per vote in a narrow loss to Hector Uribe, who spent only 7 cents per vote himself. All told, candidates spent, on average, about $14 per vote. Explore each campaign's bang for the buck in our latest data application.

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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: 

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

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Courts Criminal justice 2010 elections Bill White Griffin Perry Public Information Act Rick Perry