AUSTIN, Texas — This election season, Texas political candidates are expected to set new records for spending. So, who's giving the most money to the state's top candidates?
For that answer, KVUE News turned to the Center for Responsive Politics, which has merged with the National Institute on Money in Politics to become OpenSecrets. Their researchers track donations to political candidates, including the top individual donors.
Texas governor's race
Throughout his political career, Gov. Greg Abbott is known for having a big war chest, and this election is no exception. So far this election year, OpenSecrets shows the state's top Republican has had $116,762,790 contributed to his campaign.
Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has had $40,677,583 contributed to his campaign.
Some of this money is rolled over from previous campaigns or given by political action committees, and some is given by individual donors. Texas doesn't have contribution limits, so individuals can give as much money to a campaign as they want.
Top 5 individual donors: Gov. Greg Abbott (R)
As of Sept. 6, 2022, Gov. Abbott's top five individual donors are:
Oil and gas exec Javaid Anwar has donated $2.4 million to Abbott's campaign this election. Doug Pitcock, CEO of a Houston-based construction company, has donated $2.1 million. Michael and Mary Porter, a Hill Country couple in agriculture, specifically livestock, have donated $2 million to date. Rounding out the top five individual donors for the governor are billionaires Kenny Trout, who is in telecommunications, and Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners.
Top 5 individual donors: Beto O'Rourke (D)
As of Sept. 6, 2022, Beto O'Rourke's top five individual donors are:
At first glance, you may notice a significant difference in the amounts of money O'Rourke's top donors are giving compared to Gov. Abbott's. The donor at the top of O'Rourke's list didn't even give as much money as the fifth largest donor to Abbott's campaign.
O'Rourke's top individual donors this election year are a husband and wife from Austin. Investors and philanthropists Simone and Tench Coxe each wrote O'Rourke checks for $1 million. Billionaire businessman and philanthropist George Soros gave O'Rourke $1 million. There's a pretty significant drop in the amounts donated to round out this list. Nancy Sanders, who is in the real estate industry, donated $135,000 to O'Rourke, and settlement consultant Scott Freeman gave $100,000.
Top non-individual donors: Gov. Greg Abbott (R)
As of Sept. 13, 2022, Gov. Abbott's top non-individual donors are:
Auto dealer Gulf States Toyota/The Friedkin Group tops the list with it's total contribution of $675,000 to Gov. Greg Abbott. Lawyer and Lobbyist group HillCo Partners gave $593,150. Santa Rosa Ranches, a cattle breeder, $515,000. The Border Health Political Action Committee, which represents hospitals and nursing homes, gave $456,655. Advertiser Ryan LLC and William Scott 1991 Trust each gave $400,000.
Top 5 non-individual donors: Beto O'Rourke (D)
As of Sept. 13, 2022, Beto O'Rourke's top five non-individual donors are:
O'Rourke's top non-individual donor is his organization Powered by People. O'Rourke launched the policy group before announcing his run for governor. It gave the O'Rouke campaign about $1.7 million. Our Texas, a liberal policy organization, contributed $500,000. The American Federation of Teachers, an educator union, gave $300,000. Attorney group Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLP donated $100,000 and Dallas attorneys Aldous Walker LLP gave $50,000.
Texas lieutenant governor's race
The 2022 race for Texas lieutenant governor is a rematch from 2018. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) will face off against Mike Collier (D), who came in at just five points under the top Republican four years ago.
So far this election year, Patrick has had $27,494,170 donated to his campaign while Collier has $2,916,182.
Top 5 individual donors: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R)
As of Sept. 7, Lt. Gov. Patrick's top five individual donors are:
CEO of a Houston based construction company, Doug Pitcock tops the list as Patrick's largest individual donor. Pitcock is also one of Gov. Abbott's top five donors, though he has given Patrick substantially less money at $600,000. Investor Douglas Scharbauer also donated $600,000 to Patrick. Billionaire Central Texas businessman Drayton McLane has donated $450,000. Oil and gas executive Ray Allen gave Patrick $350,000 this cycle, as did billionaire Kenny Trout, who is in telecommunications.
Top 5 individual donors: Mike Collier (D)
As of Sept. 7, Mike Collier's top five individual donors are:
Collier's top donor so far this election is a man named Stephen Davis, who's industry information isn't available. He's donated $35,000. Venture investor Austin Ligon donated $25,000 to the Collier campaign, and that seems to be the magic number rounding out Collier's top five donor list. Wayne Watts, who's industry information isn't available, Stephen J. Davis, who is in investments, and Edward Allen III, who is in finance, also gave $25,000 each to the Collier camp.
Top 5 non-individual donors: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R)
As of Sept. 14, 2022, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's top non-individual donors are:
Lt. Gov. Patrick's list of the top five organizations, businesses and PACs that have donated to his campaign looks very similar to Governor Greg Abbott's. In fact, four of Patrick's top five donors on this list are also on Abbott's, starting with the Border Health Political Action Committee, which represents hospitals and nursing homes. The PAC has donated $450,000 to Patrick. Advertising and public relations firm Ryan LLC has contributed $300,000 to Patrick's campaign. Auto dealer Gulf States Toyota donated $325,000. The Associated General Contractors of Texas have given Patrick $291,750 and lobbyist and public relations firm HillCo Partners has donated $280,000.
Top non-individual donors: Mike Collier (D)
As of Sept. 14, 2022, Mike Collier's top five individual donors are:
Mike Collier has had significantly less money donated to his campaign from PACs, businesses and organizations compared to Lt. Gov. Patrick. The Texas Parent Political Action Committee, which advocates for public schools, is Collier's top non-individual donor, giving $5,000. Law firm David Bernsen PC, State Representative Chris Turner's campaign and former State Senator and congressional candidate Wendy Davis' campaign committee also each gave $5,000. The Texas AFL CIO, a labor union, donated $2,500 as did the Texas Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
Top non-individual donors
Texas attorney general race
This election cycle, Republican incumbent Ken Paxton has had $12,145,672 in campaign contributions, according to OpenSecrets. Democrat challenger Rochelle Garza, a newcomer to the political scene, has $1,090,100. These total numbers represent money rolled over from previous campaigns, funds given by political action committees and groups and money from individual donors.
Top individual donors: Attorney General Ken Paxton (R)
As of Sept. 8, 2022, Attorney General Ken Paxton's top five individual donors are:
If most of the names on this list look familiar, you've been paying attention. Four of these six donors are also on the top donor list for Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick or both.
Investor Douglas Scharbauer, who is Patrick's top donor, is also Paxton's top donor. He gave $450,000 to his campaign. Telecommunications executive Kenny Troutt, a backer of Abbott and Patrick, gave Paxton $300,000. Michael Porter, a Hill Country resident in the livestock industry, gave Paxton $150,000, and oil and gas executive Javaid Anwar donated $145,000 to Paxton. Both Porter and Anwar are on Abbott's top donor list. Rounding out Paxton's top individual donors are investors Darwin Deason and Amanda Schumacher, who each contributed $100,000 to Paxton's campaign.
Top individual donors: Rochelle Garza (D)
As of Sept. 8, 2022, Rochelle Garza's top five individual donors are:
Attorney Rochelle Garza has had substantially less money donated to her campaign and OpenSecrets doesn't have much information on the industries her donors are in.
Her top donor is Edward Allen, who works in finance. He gave $25,000 to Garza. Isabel Welland, who's information isn't available, also gave $25,000. Eliot Horowitz, who is the chief technology officer for a data firm, donated $20,000. Luci B. Johnson, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Susan Young each gave $10,000.
Top 5 non-individual donors: Attorney General Ken Paxton (R)
As of Sept. 15, 2022, Attorney General Ken Paxton's top five non-individual donors are:
The Republican Attorneys General Association, a conservative policy organization, donated $250,000 to AG Paxton's 2022 campaign. THRC Holdings LP, which industry information isn't listed, gave $200,000 this election cycle. A PAC made up of republican state-level politicians called Defend Texas Liberty gave $150,000. Advertising and public relations firm Ryan LLC, a top donor for the top republican offices, gave Paxton's campaign $100,000. And HillCo Partners, a lobbyist and public relations group donated $85,893 to Paxton.
Top non-individual donors: Rochelle Garza (D)
As of Sept. 15, 2022, Rochelle Garza's top non-individual donors are:
Overall, Attorney Rochelle Garza's top campaign donors are PACs. Emily's List, a pro-choice political action committee, donated $77,500 to Garza. Annie's List, another pro-choice PAC, gave $36,713. Garza's congressional campaign committee from her brief run to represent Brownsville in the U.S. House of Representatives donated $35,225 to Garza's AG campaign. Way To Lead, a liberal policy organization, donated 7,600 and Texas AFL CIO, the Latino Victory Project and Avow, a pro-choice PAC, all donated 5-thousand dollars.
While money isn't everything, it certainly is a critical part of winning an election and it is clear: Texas democrats have a funding challenge ahead of them to keep up with the republican incumbents they want to replace.
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