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Deuell Challenger Bankrolled by House Candidate's Father

Also, a state representative resigns her position on the Texas Conservative Coalition's board in protest over testimony in House State Affairs on dark money.

State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is in a Republican runoff to keep his seat.

The father of a legislative candidate has popped up as the main financial backer of Bob Hall, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, in next week’s party primary runoff.

Hall reported raising $298,029 on his runoff report, which covered fundraising from Feb. 23 through May 17. A large chunk of those contributions — $190,000 — came via the Farmers Branch-based North Texas Conservative Coalition.

That group, meanwhile, received most of its money over the same period from a single benefactor. Carl Westcott gave $250,000 in three separate installments. That amounted to 94 percent of the total money raised by the group.

He is also the father of HD-108 Republican candidate Chart Westcott, who is in a runoff contest of his own with Morgan Meyer to succeed Dan Branch to represent the Dallas/Park Cities House seat.

In another curious coincidence, the two legislative districts — SD-2 and HD-108 — overlap slightly. They share some neighborhoods around Abrams Road and Swiss Avenue between downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake.

About 2,400 registered voters call both districts home — hardly enough (probably) to tilt the election in SD-2, which has nearly 413,000 registered voters. The primary runoff election is set for Tuesday with early voting scheduled to end today.


State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, has resigned her position on the boards of the Texas Conservative Coalition and the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute in protest over what she believed was "ill advised" testimony before a House committee earlier in the month.

In a May 13 letter to TCC Executive Director John Colyandro, Harless said she was prompted to action by testimony given by the group on May 1 before the House State Affairs Committee. The hearing took a look at the need for requirement to disclose so-called dark money, contributions given to political nonprofit organizations in order to avoid having to identify the donor.

“I do not believe it is in the best interest of the organization to get deeply involved in social issues and feel that offering testimony was ill-advised,” she wrote. “These issues are divisive, polarizing, and in my opinion are squandering our Republican majority. We should be doing everything in our power to solidify and grow our Republican base.”

At issue was testimony given by Russell Withers, general counsel for the TCC’s research institute. The Tribune reported that Withers was critical of mandating disclosure of dark money.

“I don’t think the public is particularly concerned with who paid for the ad,” the Tribune reported Withers as saying. “I think the ultimate issue is in the marketplace of ideas. The public decides for themselves once they hear the message.”

In her resignation letter, Harless said that she understood the TCC’s message to be sole mission “was to cut taxes, reduce regulations and promote policies that create opportunities and incentives for businesses to invest in Texas.”

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