Endorsements can carry weight in primary elections, particularly when the groups issuing them have motivated, active and well-informed constituencies behind them.
We analyzed how 30 influential business associations, ideological and grassroots groups and other issue-oriented PACs’ endorsed candidates fared in the 2016 primary and runoff elections. We have listed their endorsements in another post. We chose to exclude corporate employee PACs, law firms and lobby groups from this analysis.
In general, business groups and associations’ endorsed candidates were more successful than ideological or issue-oriented groups’ candidates. This is not surprising given that the primary elections were, on balance, kind to the status quo in both parties. The Democratic primary was particularly stable, so groups that made endorsements in that primary tended to land higher on the list than groups who endorsed solely in the Republican primary and runoff elections.
We have ranked the 30 PACs in order from the highest winning percentage of their endorsed candidates to the lowest. We calculate these as the percent of endorsed candidates who ultimately won their contested elections out of the total number of endorsed candidates in contested primary elections. If a group or PAC endorsed multiple candidates in a race, all candidates are counted. For example, if a PAC’s two endorsed candidates for SD24 advanced to the runoff, it counts as two primary wins. In the runoff, it counts as one win and one loss. Overall, it counts as one win and one loss.
Candidates who were unopposed in the primary were excluded from our calculations. We looked only at statewide and legislative races.
For purposes of determining a win-loss percentage in the primary election, a candidate advancing to a runoff was considered a win. Because of this, the overall total wins and losses are not the sum of the primary and runoff figures shown. The numbers shown below each percentage wheel are:
- For the primary, primary wins and runoff advancements – primary losses
- For the runoff, runoff wins – runoff losses
- For the overall percentage, primary and runoff wins – primary and runoff losses
The color of the percentage counter indicates if the group endorsed only Republicans (red), only Democrats (blue) or a combination of both (green).
Group or PAC
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS
TEXAS SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN CATTLE RAISERS ASSOCIATION
COMBINED LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATIONS OF TEXAS
TEXAS FARM BUREAU
TEXAS OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF BUILDERS
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
TEXANS FOR LAWSUIT REFORM
TEXAS MUNICIPAL POLICE ASSOCIATION
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS
ASSOCIATED REPUBLICANS OF TEXAS
TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
TEXAS OPHTHALMOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
TEXAS STATE RIFLE ASSOCIATION
TEXAS DENTAL ASSOCIATION
TEXAS AFL-CIO COPE
TEXAS ALLIANCE FOR LIFE
TEXAS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
TEXAS PARENT PAC
TEXAS VALUES ACTION
CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS OF TEXAS
TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE
TEXAS HOME SCHOOL COALITION
YOUNG CONSERVATIVES OF TEXAS
EMPOWER TEXANS/TEXANS FOR FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
GRASSROOTS AMERICA WE THE PEOPLE
TEXANS FOR VACCINE CHOICE
NE TARRANT TEA PARTY
For the most part, we used official news releases or lists of endorsed candidates on the groups’ official web sites or social media outlets. In some cases, we used campaign finance reports filed by the groups to use their contributions to candidates as proxies for formal endorsements.
If you are the PAC director for any of these PACs and see an error in our listings, or if we have overlooked endorsements made for legislators who were unopposed in the primary, then contact us at info AT txelects.com.