LAND: The campaign of Comm. George P. Bush (R) released an ad listing some of Bush’s accomplishments in office and highlighting his endorsements of Ted Cruz (R) and Donald Trump.
AGRIC: The campaign of Comm. Sid Miller (R) released a radio ad attacking opponent Trey Blocker’s contributions to Democratic candidates and highlighting Miller’s agriculture and conservative credentials.
SD2: Sen. Bob Hall’s (R-Edgewood) campaign released its first ad in his re-election campaign, focusing on his conservative credentials.
SD30: The Dallas Morning News endorsed Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls).
HD52 open: Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Cynthia Flores for the seat being vacated by Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock).
HD98: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake).
HD99: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth).
HD113 open: The Dallas Morning News endorsed Jim Phaup (R) and Rhetta Bowers (D) in their respective primaries for the seat being vacated by Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale).
HD134: The campaign of Gov. Greg Abbott released a new ad attacking Rep. Sarah Davis for votes and actions on abortion, disaster relief and ethics matters.
Big Contributions: Fourteen donors combined to give nearly $4.7M in contributions of at least $100K to candidates and PACs during the first 25 days of the year.
Five candidates reported receiving single contributions of at least $100K:
- Greg Abbott (R) received large contributions from Houston construction businessman James Pitcock ($250K) and Dallas investor Kenny Troutt ($200K), accounting for 41% of his contributions for the period.
- Susanna Dokupil received a $161,151 in-kind contribution from Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign, accounting for 63% of her contributions for the period.
- Bo French received $200K from Empower Texans PAC, accounting for 71% of his contributions for the period.
- Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) received $200K from Empower Texans PAC, accounting for 84% of his contributions for the period.
- Phillip Huffines received $100K from his brother, Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), out of personal funds, accounting for 60% of his contributions for the period.
Six PACs reported receiving single contributions of at least $100K:
- Associated Republicans of Texas PAC received $100K from Houston energy businessman Charles Tate, accounting for half of its contributions for the period.
- Empower Texans PAC received large contributions from Cisco businessman Dan Wilks ($625K), Midland oil businessman Kyle Stallings ($178K) and Midland oil businessman Tim Dunn ($150K), accounting for 99.8% its contributions for the period.
- New Leadership PAC received $200K from Austin businessman Jeff Sandefer, accounting for 95% of its contributions for the period.
- Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC received large contributions from Houston sports team owner Bob McNair ($300K), Houston homebuilder Richard Weekley ($300K) and San Diego, Calif., physician Peter Farrell ($100K). Together they provided 99.8% of the PAC’s total contributions for the period.
- Texas American Federation of Teachers PAC received $125K from the American Federation of Teachers COPE PAC, accounting for 76% of its contributions for the period.
- Texas Right to Life PAC received large contributions from Cisco businessman Dan Wilks ($625K) and his brother Farris ($625K), Midland oil businessman Kyle Stallings ($150K) and Midland oil businessman Tim Dunn ($100K). Combined they provided 98% of the PAC’s total contributions for the period.
Texas Right to Life PAC raised $1.5M in contributions during the first 25 days of January. To put that in perspective, it took the PAC more than three years to raise its previous $1.5M. It is more than triple the highest amount the PAC has ever raised during a single reporting period ($417K leading into the 2016 primary runoff election).
Montgomery Co.: The 9th Court of Appeals has reinstated two misdemeanor indictments against County Judge Craig Doyal (R), Co. Comm. Charlie Riley (R) and a consultant. They were indicted in June on charges of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. A district judge had tossed the indictments in a ruling that found a portion of the act unconstitutional. In a statement, Doyal said he would appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Doyal, who is seeking a second term, faces Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) in the primary.
Voter Fraud: Starr Co. authorities have arrested three people in connection with an ongoing voter fraud investigation. Earlier this week, Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) announced his office was assisting District Atty. Omar Escobar at his invitation. Paxton also sent a letter (PDF) to Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), chair of the Select Committee on Election Integrity, outlining concerns with current law and practice about the integrity voter rolls and mail ballot security.
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