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Empower Texans Pours Big Money Into AG, Lt. Gov. Races

Empower Texans, one of the state's most aggressive conservative advocacy groups, has invested a combined $500,000 in two statewide Republican primary races in the last six months.

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Empower Texans, one of the state's most aggressive conservative advocacy groups, has invested a combined $500,000 in two statewide Republican primary races in the last six months. 

The organization's PAC has donated $250,000 each to lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick and attorney general candidate Ken Paxton. Patrick, a Houston state senator, is among three candidates competing to oust incumbent David Dewhurst. Paxton is a state senator from McKinney locked in a three-way bid to become the state's next attorney general, which is currently an open seat.

Empower Texans PAC also doled out sums to candidates for the state Legislature. The biggest winner was freshman state Rep. Matt Schaefer, who received $89,000 in support from the group. The Tyler Republican faces primary challenger Skip Ogle. Among the group's other expenditures: $5,800 to host a teletown hall for state senate candidate Van Taylor, a current state representative who is running unopposed in the primary for a Dallas-area state senate district.

All but $141 earned by the PAC in the last fundraising cycle comes from a $900,000 infusion from its chairman, the Midland-based oil and gas magnate Tim Dunn. Its filing is among the first to be publicly available — more will continue to trickle as the Jan. 15 reporting deadline approaches.

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