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Dollars Flow Freely in SD-26 Runoff

The two candidates plus the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC have spent a combined seven-figure sum since Jan. 1.

State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.

The runoff race between two San Antonio Democrats to succeed Leticia Van de Putte in the Texas Senate has received by far the most attention of the quartet of special runoff elections set for Tuesday.

The contest is yet another proxy fight between tort reform interests and trial lawyers. The political arm of the tort reform group Texans for Lawsuit Reform has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars directly over the first few weeks of the year to defeat state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a bête noire of tort reformers.

The group and its major donors have also given significant sums to state Rep. José Menéndez, who has spent more than a quarter million dollars on his own to win the race.

Meanwhile, Martinez Fischer has received $250,000 from the law firm of trial lawyer Steve Mostyn and another $50,000 from the political arm of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

Here are further details on where the money’s been spent in the run-up to the Feb. 17 election.

Trey Martinez Fischer:

According to his runoff report, Martinez Fischer spent $588,075 from Jan. 1 through Feb. 7.

His single biggest expense was advertising, spending $418,095 with New York-based GMMB Inc. He also spent $43,700 with Austin-based Gold Communications on printing.

José Menéndez:

According to his runoff report, Menéndez spent $269,728 from Jan. 1 through Feb. 7.

The large majority of that went to two places — $140,000 spent with San Antonio-based Barberena on television advertising and $122,171 with the San Antonio-based consulting firm PolitiCo for an assortment of campaign expenses like get-out-the-vote efforts, phone banking and canvassing.

Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC:

According to its runoff report, the political arm of this high-profile tort reform group spent $401,795 from Jan. 1 through Feb. 7.

The vast majority of those expenditures went toward the SD-26 race to benefit Menéndez. The PAC spent $150,225 with Ohio-based Strategic Media Placement on television advertising.

The PAC spent nearly $45,000 with Austin-based consulting firm Murphy Nasica & Associates on get-out-the-vote efforts and $103,350 on direct mail with Oklahoma-based Majority Designs.

The PAC has supplemented that spending further this week with another $32,500 spent on get-out-the-vote efforts with Murphy Nasica & Associates and $8,350 spent on direct mail with Austin-based Berry Communications.

What does all this spending get you? Here’s an example:

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