HD125 special: Former San Antonio council member Ray Lopez’s late-filed campaign finance reports shows he raised $93K and spent $49K between January 1 and February 2. Lopez has $44K on hand. His largest contributors were:

  • $5,000 – San Antonio energy executive William Greehey, San Antonio realtor Michael Hogan, NuStar PAC (Greehey is NuStar’s chairman), Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, San Antonio communications executive Richard and JoAnne Wells
  • $2,500 – Associated General Contractors of Texas PAC, San Antonio surveying company executive Eduardo Belmares, San Antonio civil engineer Samuel Dawson ($2.5K), San Antonio commercial construction executive Thomas Guido, San Antonio foundation president Gordon Hartman, IBC PAC and San Antonio executive Greg Kowalski.

Lopez also received notable contributions from former Secretary of State Hope Andrade; CLEAT PAC; former Sen. John Montford (D-Lubbock); and the campaigns of Reps. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) and Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) and Bexar Co. Comm. Chico Rodriguez (D).

The other four candidates combined have raised $52K and spent $84K. Former Rep. Art Reyna (D-San Antonio) nearly matched Lopez’s spending, but every other candidate is at least $30K in spending behind Lopez.

Two days remain in the early voting period. Through today (Wednesday), 2,347 people have voted in person. Bexar Co. does not release the number of ballot-by-mail voters until Election Day.

Secretary of State: The Senate Nominations Committee will consider the nomination of Secretary of State David Whitley among others at its Thursday meeting. His office’s handling of an advisory directing county voter registrars to investigate possible non-citizen registered voters is likely to be a significant topic at that hearing. Article IV, Section 12 of the Texas Constitution requires two thirds of members present to confirm gubernatorial appointments, so Whitley likely needs the support of at least two Democrats to be confirmed.

Judicial Selection: In his biennial address on the state of the judiciary, Chief Justice Nathan Hecht (R) called upon legislators to reform judicial elections. “Partisan election is among the very worst methods of judicial selection,” Hecht said. “Merit selection followed by nonpartisan retention elections would be better.” He made a similar plea in 2017, and he raised the issue in his 2015 remarks. Former Chief Justices Tom Phillips (R) and Wallace Jefferson (R) have also called for judicial selection reform.

Texas is one of nine states that uses partisan elections to choose judges. The other states are Alabama, Illinois, Indiana (trial courts only), Louisiana, New York (trial courts only), North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee (trial courts only). Seventeen states  utilize retention elections for additional terns of office for supreme court justices, 15 for appellate judges and 11 for district judges.

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