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The conservative megadonor Tim Dunn is backing Shelley Luther in her Texas Senate bid with a $1 million loan, a large amount for such a race.
Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed earlier this year over her refusal to close her business due to coronavirus restrictions, is in a six-way special election Sept. 29 to succeed Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, as he prepares to join Congress. The seat is solidly red.
Luther's campaign confirmed the $1 million loan Friday evening, three days before a campaign finance deadline in the race. The loan was first reported by the news website The Texan.
Voting in Texas
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The deadline to register to vote in the 2020 general election was Oct. 5. Check if you’re registered to vote here. If not, you’ll need to fill out and submit an application, which you can request here or download here.
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Early voting for the 2020 general election runs from Oct. 13 to Oct. 30. Voters can cast ballots at any polling location in the county where they are registered to vote during early voting. Election Day is Nov. 3.
How will voting be different because of the pandemic?
In general, polling locations will have guidelines in place for social distancing and regular cleaning. Several counties will offer ballot marking devices so voters avoid contact with election equipment. Poll workers will likely be wearing face masks and other protective equipment, but masks will not be required for voters.
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In a statement explaining his support for Luther, Dunn praised her for standing up to what he described as bipartisan government overreach in the fight against the pandemic. He said he loaned her $1 million because the "Austin Swamp has tilted the playing field to negate Shelley’s grassroots advantage," referring to the sped-up timeline that Gov. Greg Abbott ordered to fill Fallon's seat.
Luther's closest Republican competition is state Rep. Drew Springer of Muenster. He responded to the news of the loan by citing several groups that have endorsed him, including the Texas Farm Bureau and National Rifle Association, and saying they "know how bad an [Empower Texans] bought & paid for Senator would be for Texas." Empower Texans is the hard-right group that Dunn has bankrolled over the years.
Early voting for the special election began Monday and goes through Sept. 25. The upcoming campaign finance deadline covers fundraising through Saturday.
Texas Farm Bureau has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.