Local politicians already have more than $6 million in the bank for 2014 elections

Posted Sunday, Jul. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Local politicians are preparing for battle.

They are stockpiling the most important tool — money — and fortifying their war chests nine months before they head into primary battles next March.

Together, Tarrant County politicians and challengers have more than $6.1 million in the bank, $3.2 million of which has been raised this year, according to new campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

“To have $6 million in one county in one state in a nonelection year is astonishing,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. “It’s a lot of money.

“But the cost of running for election is going up geometrically every year.”

As expected, the top two Tarrant County money getters are Democrat Wendy Davis, who could be planning a bid for a statewide race, and Republican George P. Bush, who is running for a statewide seat.

But other Tarrant County lawmakers have accumulated sizable sums, such as Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson, who has more than $1 million in cash on hand.

“I think we will see this escalate over the next year,” Riddlesperger said. “I suspect this is just a precursor of things to come.”

Here’s a look at money raised by local officeholders and challengers, according to state reports that detail contributions for the first six months of this year. Officeholders were prevented from raising money right before, after and during the regular legislative session. So these numbers filed with the state ethics commission mostly reflect funds raised during two weeks in late June.

Land Commissioner

• George P. Bush of Fort Worth. This year, Bush — son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush — raised more than $2 million and has more than $2.6 million cash on hand.

Donations include $10,000 from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, $2,000 from the Texas Rangers’ Nolan Ryan, $1,250 from the Arlington Police Association PAC, $2,500 from Fort Worth attorney Dee Kelly and $10,000 from Q PAC, a political action committee of Fort Worth investment banker Geoffrey Raynor.

“If viable potential challengers for land commissioner had not already been chased [away by] George P. Bush’s family ties and widespread support within the GOP elite, his [finance report] sends an effective signal that this is a race they should avoid,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

The fundraising timetable, which prevents officeholders from raising money during the regular legislative session, did not apply to Bush because he does not hold an elected office.

• David Watts, an East Texas Republican, has also filed to run for this seat. He has raised $270 and has $1,261 cash on hand, which includes a $1,000 loan. None of his donations this year came from Tarrant County.

• Democrat John Cook, a former mayor from El Paso, recently announced he will run for land commissioner next year. He has yet to file a campaign finance report with the state.

State Senate

District 10

• Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. Davis, who drew international attention this year after an 11-hour-plus filibuster led to the death of a comprehensive abortion bill in the first special session, raised more than $933,000 and has more than $1 million cash on hand.

Her donations include $100,000 from Fort Worth investor Sid Bass; $50,000 from Annie’s List; $10,000 from Dallas attorney Lisa Baron, widow of Fred Baron, a major giver to Texas Democrats and in national politics; and $10,000 from Deedie Rose, board chairwoman of the Dallas Museum of Art.

Davis has said she is running for re-election to the Senate next year, but Democratic leaders have encouraged her to consider a bid for governor or other statewide office.

“Some people are holding off donating money because nobody knows what Wendy is going to run for,” Riddlesperger said. “Right now, she’s on record that she’s running for the Senate. But we all know her circumstances changed in the last month and she’s under enormous pressure to take to the big stage.

“People likely to donate money to try to defeat Wendy are waiting to see where she is running so they know where to best put their money.”

• Republican challenger Konni Burton of Colleyville, a longtime leader in the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party and in her community. She raised $13,680 and has more than $109,000 in cash on hand.

Donations include $100 from Cathie Adams, former state GOP chairwoman; $250 from optometrist Tom Annunziato of Aledo; and $50 from Garland’s Katrinia Pierson, a member of the Dallas Tea Party. She also reported receiving a $100,000 loan from Phillip Burton.

She has said Davis’ donations, such as the one from Annie’s List, are “yet another example of the surge in liberal support Wendy is receiving for her radical stance on abortion,” and urges people to sign a petition against Davis at www.FireWendyDavis.com.

• Republican challenger Mark Shelton, a former state representative from Fort Worth who unsuccessfully challenged Davis for this seat last year. He raised $26,920 and has nearly $44,000 on hand.

Donations include $1,000 from James Dunaway of Fort Worth, president of JRD Group; $1,000 from Marcus Hill of Fort Worth, president of the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation; $2,000 from Fort Worth oilman W.A. Moncrief Jr.; and more than $7,500 in in-kind donations from the Texas Medical Association PAC.

District 9

•  Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills. He reported raising no money this year and has $2,973 cash on hand. But the Texans for Kelly Hancock SPAC campaign report shows that committee raised an additional $10,875 this year and has $90,178 in cash on hand.

District 12

•  Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, whose district includes parts of Tarrant County. She reported raising no money this year and has more than $1 million cash on hand.

District 22

• Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury: He raised $15,000 this year and has more than $350,000 on hand. His one donation was $15,000 from the Empower Texans PAC.

State House

District 90

• Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth. He raised $23,156 this year and has more than $33,000 on hand. Donations include $200 from the Rev. Nehemiah Davis of Fort Worth, $60 from former Fort Worth mayoral candidate Cathy Hirt, $500 from the Independent Bankers Association of Texas PAC and $1,000 from the Texas Trial Lawyers PAC.

District 91

• Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth. She raised more than $5,400 this year and has more than $17,000 in cash on hand. Donations include $2,500 from the Empower Texans PAC, $1,000 from Texans for Lawsuit Reform and $1,000 from Don Dyer, CFO of the PJS of Texas in Austin. She also lists $27,000 in outstanding loans.

District 92

• Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford. He raised $8,265 this year and has more than $132,000 on hand. Donations include $500 from the Bell Helicopter Textron PAC, $2,500 from the Empower Texans PAC and $50 from Michael Q. Sullivan of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. He listed a personal loan of $125,000.

District 93

• Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth. He raised $26,180 this year and has nearly $80,000 cash on hand. Donations include $2,500 from the Empower Texans PAC, $8,000 from Mike Olcott of Fort Worth and $100 from Barry Thombs of North Richland Hills.

District 94

• Reb. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington. She raised $2,266 this year and has more than $48,000 on hand. Donations include $1,500 from Blackridge of Austin.

District 95

• Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth. She raised $6,938 this year and has $3,980 in cash on hand. Donations include $2,500 from Serena Connelly, foundation executive for Contran Corp. in Dallas and $1,000 from the Texas Trial Lawyers Association PAC. She also lists $370 in unitemized loans.

District 96

• Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington. He raised $3,550 this year and has more than $31,000 on hand. Donations were $2,500 from the Empower Texans PAC and $1,000 from the Texas Optometric PAC

District 97

• Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth. He raised $2,117 this year and has more than $43,000 cash on hand. Donations include $1,000 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC and $300 from Cammack & Strong PC in Austin.

District 98

• Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. He raised $22,776 this year and has about $30,000 on hand. Donations include $2,500 from the Empower Texans PAC and $1,000 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC. His report lists $69,307 in outstanding loans.

District 99

• Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. He raised $51,950 this year and has more than $420,000 on hand. Donations include $25,000 from the TREPAC/Texas Association of Realtors, $500 from the Friends of UNT PAC, $1,500 from the Licensed Beverage Distributors PAC and $5,000 from the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

District 101

• Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie. He raised nearly $5,000 this year and has nearly $30,000 on hand. Donations include $1,000 from Blackridge of Austin, $500 from the Licensed Beverage Distributors PAC and $1,000 from the Southwest Research & Medical PAC.

Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?