The Big Conversation:
Lobbyists have set off the latest round of back-and-forth between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst over where they're getting their money.
As the Tribune's Aman Batheja and Jay Root report today, Dewhurst has drawn 26 times as much money from Texas lobbyists as Cruz, $189,869 to $11,750. Cruz has seized on those numbers and points to something nefarious at play.
"Everyone who has business in front of the state Legislature — 100 percent of them — are with David Dewhurst, and they have to be," Cruz said. "I have heard from dozens of people who have been told in no uncertain terms, if they ever want a bill to pass the Texas Legislature, they will support David Dewhurst for the Senate, and we knew that when we started."
Cruz, meanwhile, has drawn $120,148 from Washington, D.C.-based lobbyists, while Dewhurst has received less than $25,000 from them.
“Washington special interests are supporting Ted Cruz because they know he will be beholden to them and help carry out their agenda, which has driven our country further to the brink of disaster,” said Dewhurst spokesman Matt Hirsch.
Though some lobbyists said they supported Dewhurst simply because they work closely with him and know him well, another said expressing support for Cruz could put his job on the line.
"The last thing you want to be is on an enemies list for not having given" to Dewhurst, the lobbyist said. "He’s been in office forever, so he’s got a network of staff people and you see them on the street and they are pressuring you left and right to support the guy. … I’m toast if I’m out there openly supporting Cruz."
The latest spat over lobbyists donations comes amid debate over who's attracting more money from Super PACs and what that means for the campaign. Cruz this week also faced scrutiny for support he has received from a gay billionaire who supports same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.
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