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Mostyn Pours Money Into Race Against Larry Taylor

Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, Texas' largest single contributor to Democrats in 2010, is pouring money into a GOP primary race, targeting state Senate hopeful Larry Taylor.

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Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, Texas' largest single contributor to Democrats in 2010, is pouring money into a May 29 GOP primary race, taking aim at state Senate hopeful Larry Taylor.

Mostyn directly gave one of Taylor’s opponents, Dave Norman, $275,000, about a third of the money the candidate raised for the most recent filing period, April 20 through May 19. Norman got another $225,000 from Conservative Voters of Texas, which has gotten nearly all of its money from Mostyn. He was the sole contributor in the last period, giving the committee $400,000.

Another group to which Mostyn has heavily donated, the liberal Texans for Insurance Reform, gave Norman more than $350,000, Texas Ethics Commission records show.

Taylor, a state representative from Friendswood, raised more than Norman in the filing period, pulling in $1.1 million. More than $800,000 of it came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a large and influential pro-business lobby group. TLR gives mostly to Republicans but also has contributed heavily to a few Democrats who support the group on lawsuit restrictions.

Mostyn has battled with Taylor, who runs an insurance agency, over hurricane-related lawsuits.

"Dave Norman and I don't agree on many issues — he's about as hard-right Republican as anyone can get. But he is a man of integrity and courage," Mostyn said in a written statement. "Larry Taylor sold out his own constituents to the company that paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Taylor said he thinks his campaign is still on track to win. He said Republican voters are turned off by the source of political money flowing into his chief opponent’s coffers.

“I think it’s very strange when the No. 1 funder of Democrats in the state of Texas comes and tries to buy a state Senate seat in a Republican primary,” Taylor said.

There's a third candidate in the race, Daniel McCool, who only raised about $2,100 for the period. But his presence on the ballot could help force the race into a July 31 runoff.

The candidates are vying to replace Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, in heavily Republican Senate District 11. Jackson is running for an open congressional seat.

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