In one week, Republican state representatives and House candidates have pledged $200,000 toward retiring the debt of the Republican Party of Texas.
The party's debt stood at $685,000 in the spring, which it managed to whittle down to $350,000 over the summer. On September 9, party chairman Steve Munisteri announced the formation of "Debt Busters," a group of House Republicans, including Speaker Joe Straus, Republican Caucus Chairman Larry Taylor and others, focused on raising money to permanantly eliminate that debt by December 31, 2010.
"As Republicans and as conservatives, we know that deficit spending is not the way to go," said state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, as he revealed the $200,000 raised thus far at an Austin press conference on Friday. Munisteri, who was anticipating the figure to be between $120,000 and $150,000, said he was pleased at having his expectations exceeded.
At a time when contributing directly to the party seems to be falling out of fashion, Munisteri said it was important to remember the services the party structure provides that individual campaigns cannot: voter registration drives, opposition research, lower postage rates and organization when it's not campaign season. With their debt burden lightened, Munisteri anticipates being able to direct more resources into competitive races as election day approaches.