Less than 20 donors, many connected to various grassroots conservative PACs, have provided more than 40% of all contributions to a group of Republican primary challengers opposing Speaker Straus and seven incumbents who voted to re-elect him leader of the House of Representatives. Together these donors have contributed more than $465K out of the nearly $1.1 million raised by the eight challengers through December 31, according to the candidates’ campaign finance reports. That’s nearly double the amount these candidates collectively raised from donors located in their individual districts. These candidates are:
- Josh Crawford in HD81, challenging freshman Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)
- Jess Fields in HD14, challenging Rep. John Raney (R-College Station)
- Bo French in HD99, challenging Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), a committee chairman
- Jeff Judson in HD121, challenging Speaker Straus (R-San Antonio)
- Thomas McNutt in HD8, challenging Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), a committee chairman
- Dan Morenoff in HD114, challenging Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas)
- Bryan Slaton in HD2, challenging Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van), a committee chairman; and
- Valoree Swanson in HD150, challenging Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball).
These candidates were selected because they have raised at least $50K and are challenging Republican incumbents who supported the Speaker’s re-election when the Legislature convened a year ago (See below for information on some additional challengers.). These 17 individual donors have also contributed more than $5.5 million since 2013 to five PACs aligned with grassroots conservative groups: Accountability First, Constituent Focus, Empower Texans, NE Tarrant Tea Party and Texas Right to Life. Three of these PACs are among the largest contributors of the eight candidates. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans, has endorsed all but Judson. Texas Right to Life has endorsed at least four of these challengers.