Local political backers are putting their money where their mouths are in the governor’s race.
Thousands of Tarrant County donations are flowing to the main two candidates battling for the state’s top job: Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth.
Davis, a former Fort Worth councilwoman, picked up many more local donations than Abbott. But his local donations are much larger.
“It is natural that Wendy Davis would have more donations from her home county,” said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas in Arlington. It’s also “very natural that Greg Abbott is likely getting donations from conservatives,” he said.
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“Wendy Davis’ donations seem to be coming from those groups and people she has been associated with in past years,” Saxe said. “Greg Abbott should do well in Tarrant County … as any strong Republican candidate for statewide office would.”
Other candidates in this year’s governor’s race include Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party candidate Brandon Parmer.
Abbott and Davis have raised millions of dollars for their campaigns and have sizable war chests, but Abbott has a significant financial advantage.
He has more than $35 million on hand. Davis has around $13 million, according to reports made to the Texas Ethics Commission this month that reflect donations from Feb. 23 to June 30.
Each has received high-dollar donations from throughout the country and Texas. Here’s a look at some of the Tarrant County money going into both campaigns, according to state reports.
Abbott drew more than 750 donations from Tarrant County during the last reporting period.
Though he had fewer local donations than Davis, his were generally much larger than those given to Davis.
Fort Worth businessman Robert Albritton and his wife, Mary, topped the list with a $250,000 donation. Other big donations came from Fort Worth architect Christopher Huckabee, who sent in $50,000; QPAC, a committee of Fort Worth investment banker Geoffrey Raynor, $50,000; and Fort Worth investor Bobby Cox and his wife, Leona, $25,000.
Four donations came from Fort Worth’s oil-rich Moncrief family — $5,000 from C.B. Moncrief, $2,756 through an in-kind donation from Kit and Charlie Moncrief, $10,000 from R.W. Moncrief and $2,500 from Tom Moncrief.
“Wealthy Republican donors in Tarrant County are donating to Abbott, just like wealthy Republican donors from Bexar, Dallas, and Harris counties,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.
Other contributions included $10,000 from Tom Chambers, a Fort Worth investor; $5,000 each from Fort Worth attorneys Dee Kelly and Dee Kelly Jr.; $2,500 from Michael Berry, an executive with Hillwood Properties, and his wife, Marilyn; $1,000 from Gordon England, former deputy defense secretary, and his wife, Dorothy; and $500 from the Betsy Price campaign.
Davis drew more than 1,800 donations from Tarrant County during the last reporting period.
“For Davis, fundraising efforts in Tarrant County are of extra importance, both because her hometown connections should allow her to raise more funds than she would otherwise raise in a county with a similar profile,” Jones said, adding that her local showing tells the rest of the state how much support she enjoys among the people who know her best.
She picked up donations from local Democratic groups such as Southwest Democrats of Tarrant County, $1,000, and Tarrant County Democratic Women’s Club in Fort Worth, $2,500. And she received donations from local Democratic leaders including former Tarrant County Democratic Chairmen Art Brender, $1,000, and Steve Maxwell, $1,000.
Other local donations came from people she worked with during her days on the City Council, including former Councilwoman Becky Haskin, $5,000, and Steve Murrin, a former councilman who is unofficial mayor of the Stockyards, $125.
Other local donations included $50,000 from Mark Hart of Fort Worth, chairman of Corriente Advisors; $2,000 from George Bristol, president of the Texas Coalition for Conservation; $1,000 from Dan Dipert of Arlington; $250 from the Lon Burnam campaign; and $200 from Marty Craddock, a longtime preservationist in Fort Worth.
The Ironworkers State COPE Fund of Fort Worth donated $5,000; Fort Worth attorney James Monte Stanley donated $1,000; Tim Doke, a senior vice president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center, $1,000; and the Chris Turner Campaign from Arlington, $1,000.