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Texas Elections 2018

Democratic candidate for governor Andrew White donated "as a business owner" to Kentucky GOP in 2005

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White has made half a dozen political donations at the federal level over the years. One stands out.

Andrew White, Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a Texas Tribune event on Jan. 11, 2018.

Texas Elections 2018

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White has made half a dozen political donations at the federal level over the years. One stands out.

In December 2005, White gave $2,500 to the Kentucky Republican Party — over a third of his total giving for federal races dating back to 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records. The rest went to Democrats, including a similarly sized donation to then-U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas in 2013. 

Yet the GOP donation is a peculiar data point in the Democratic primary race for governor, where White is looking to prove his Democratic credentials against Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, and seven other lesser-known rivals. White, a Houston entrepreneur and the son of late Gov. Mark White, is campaigning as a "common sense Democrat" who would work with both parties in the governor's office. 

Asked about the Kentucky GOP contribution, Andrew White suggested it was connected to his career before entering politics with his run for governor. 

"As a business owner, I've made contributions in the past to both parties, but the majority have been to Democrats, including President Obama, John Kerry, and [former congressman from Texas] Chet Edwards," White said in a statement. "The contribution in question was 12 years ago. Apparently, Republican research efforts on my campaign have begun."

His campaign did not further elaborate, and it's not clear what business interest would have spurred White to donate to the Kentucky Republican Party. His occupation and employer at the time were not listed along with the other information submitted to the Federal Election Commission when he made the $2,500 donation.

According to his LinkedIn profile, White was the chairman of Houston-based Geovox Security at the time he made the $2,500 contribution. The company is perhaps best known for developing heartbeat detection technology that is used in prisons, at Border Patrol checkpoints and in other secure locations.

Also unclear is the extent to which the $2,500 contribution could become an issue in the primary. The candidates have largely declined to criticize one another so far, and Valdez in particular has sworn off attacking a fellow Democrat. Her campaign declined to comment on the Kentucky GOP donation. 

One of the other candidates, Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne, issued a statement saying he would never donate to Republicans due to their views on a host of issues.

"As a business owner I understand the ins and outs of business, but to donate to a party that consistently opposes equal rights, a woman's right to choose, discrimination masked as 'religious liberty' and lifting of clean air standards, it would be impossible for me," Payne said in a statement.

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