Politics & Government

May 21, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of dollars flow into SD 10 race

Konni Burton and Mark Shelton face off next week to determine the GOP nominee for Senate District 10.

The Republican battle for Senate District 10 is drawing big bucks.

In a hard-fought race, former state Rep. Mark Shelton has slightly more more cash — nearly $101,000 — than grassroots conservative Konni Burton’s $95,014.

At the same time, Burton out-raised Shelton $214,300 to $110,513 during the last filing period, according to recent records filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

“A state Senate race can cost about $250,000 apiece if not hotly competitive,” said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. “If very competitive, it can cost collectively over a million dollars.

“SD 10 is a very high profile Senate district primarily because of Wendy Davis holding the seat for the past few years.”

District 10 includes Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield, Colleyville and other areas of south and Northeast Tarrant County.

Davis, D-Fort Worth, has represented the district since 2009. She isn’t seeking re-election this year because she decided to run for Texas governor and faces Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Burton, of Colleyville, and Shelton, of Fort Worth, square off in Tuesday’s primary runoff election to determine who will represent the GOP for this post in November. Early voting in the election runs through 7 p.m. Friday.

Polls will also be open on election day, Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In the general election, the winner of this Republican race will face Democrat Libby Willis of Fort Worth, Libertarian Gene Lord and Green Party candidate John Tunmire of Fort Worth.

Doctor dollars

Shelton, a pediatrician and former state representative who lost a Senate bid to Davis in 2012, received his two largest donations — each for $25,000 — from Alice Walton, the billionaire daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, and the Texas Association of Realtors political action committee, according to the recent filing, an eight-day-out report that reflects donations from Feb. 23 to May 17.

Among the other donations he received: $250 from Michael Berry, president of Hillwood Corp.; $1,000 from Mac Churchill, president of Mac Churchill Inc.; and $4,500 from Gordon England, former deputy defense secretary.

He also received $250 from Tarrant Regional Water District board member Marty Leonard, $250 from former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and $2,400 from QPAC, a committee of Fort Worth investment banker Geoffrey Raynor.

Activist donations

Burton’s largest donor was the Empower Texans PAC, which sent more than $55,000 to her campaign between Feb. 23 and March 17, according to the most recent ethics commission report.

Other sizable donations included $25,000 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, $10,000 from the Texans for Education Reform PAC, $10,000 each from Don Dyer and Rex Gore of PJS in Austin; and $5,000 from Monty Bennett of Dallas County.

She also received donations including $1,500 from the National Association of Gun Rights PAC in Windsor, Colo.; $53.88 from the Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate campaign; and $50 from Cathie Adams, a conservative political activist and head of the Texas Eagle Forum.

Both candidates still have outstanding loans — Burton, $200,000, and Shelton, $100,000, reports say.

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