Money Flows to Far-Right SBOE Candidates

by

FEB. 25 UPDATE: Campaign finance reports for Democrats seeking the District 5 seat on the Texas State Board of Education are now available. See below for the new numbers. Rebecca Bell-Metereau continues to build a large fundraising lead over her opponents for the Democratic nomination. We have also updated finance numbers from a corrected finance report from Bob Craig.

UPDATE: New numbers are available below as of noon today (Feb. 23) for Districts 5, 10 and 12 Republicans. District 5 Democratic reports are not available. (Most have been filed but are not publicly available until all have been filed.)

The flow of money to the campaigns of far-right candidates and incumbents in Texas State Board of Education races increased substantially over the past month. New campaign finance reports — which were due to the Texas Ethics Commission today, eight days before the March 2 primary — show that a handful of big donors are largely driving the spike in fundraising. And the biggest winner in the fundraising sweepstakes this month is West Texas candidate Randy Rives, who appears to be the far right’s best hope to pick up a seat on the state board.

Rives, who is challenging incumbent Bob Craig of Lubbock in the GOP primary, has raked in more than $30,000 since January 22 — a nearly 3:1 advantage over incumbent Bob Craig’s fundraising total during the same period. Rives had reported less than $2,000 in contributions prior to January 22.

Incumbent Don McLeroy of College Station also saw a big jump in donations: less than $2,000 before January 22 and $13,500 since then. His challenger in the Republican primary, Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, reported more than $12,600 in contributions in the most recent period.

Among the biggest donors to far-right candidates are John, Sally and Don Mitchell from The Woodlands and Houston. We’re researching their background at this time. McLeroy got $5,000 each from John Mitchell and Sally Mitchell. The same two Mitchells also gave incumbent Ken Mercer of San Antonio $5,000 apiece — with the combined $10,000 making up close to half of Mercer’s take over the past month. John, Sally and Don Mitchell plus the Mitchell Family Trust also gave heavily to Rives’ campaign — accounting for $11,000, or more than a third, of that candidate’s fundraising total over the past month.

Interestingly, San Antonio businessman James Leininger — who essentially funded the religious right’s takeover of the state board — has yet to put any money into this year’s board races. But there seem to be plenty of other activists and deep-pocketed donors supporting the far right’s grip on the board. For example, Michael Boylan, head of a Houston property management company, gave close to $5,000, split between Rives and Mercer. In addition, Neal Frey of Educational Research Analysts and Mark Ramsey of Texans for Better Science Education also gave small contributions — Frey to Rives and Ramsey to both Rives and Mercer. Frey and Ramsey head pro-censorship groups that oppose the teaching of evolution and responsible sex education. Rives also got a $100 from GodEmpowered.com, a Web site promoting a book that encourages wives to submit themselves to the leadership of their husbands.

Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, also donated to Rives’ campaign. It should be interesting to see how that donation affects Bradley’s relationship with Craig on the board.

How is the money being spent? Campaign mailers to potential primary voters are a big item. Rives, for example, spent about half of his contributions over the last month on campaign mailers. We haven’t seen the mailers yet. The districts are so large, however, that mailouts will likely be narrowly targeted on certain voters to keep costs down for campaigns.

Below is our recap of campaign finance reports that include the most recent filings, which were due today, or eight days before the March 2 primary. The Feb. 22 reports cover the Jan. 22-Feb. 20 period. We will update information as it becomes available.

District 1

This district is dominated by El Paso but stretches to the Rio Grande Valley.

Democrat

Rene Nuñez (I): No new report; January report: no contributions, in $465 cash on hand at end of 2009

Republican

Carlos “Charlie” Garza: No reports available yet

District 3

This is a San Antonio-based district. Democratic incumbent Rick Agosto is not running for re-election.

Democrat

Michael Soto: No new report; January report: $14,242.68 in contributions, in $9,190.41 cash on hand at end of 2009

Republican Primary

Tony Cunningham: No reports available yet

Joan Muenzler: Feb. 22 report: $800 in contributions, $438.87 cash on hand; January 15, 2010, report: $1,300 in contributions, $1,300 in loans from herself, $2,600 cash on hand; no 2009 report

District 4

This is a Houston district.

Incumbent Lawrence Allen Jr., D-Houston, faces neither Democratic nor Republican opposition for re-election.

District 5

This district stretches from Bexar County to southern Travis County and includes the Hill Country and up to Bell County north of Austin.

Republican Primary

Ken Mercer (I): Feb. 22 report: $22,031 in contributions, $19,595.60 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $1,800 in contributions, $3,511.14 cash on hand; January report: $8,035.00 in contributions, in $3,639.05 cash on hand at end of 2009

Tim Tuggey: Feb. 22 report: $ 21,443.73, $ 14,495.05 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $14,266.66 in contributions, $26,339.86 cash on hand; January report: $60,330.58 in contributions, in $24,945.65 cash on hand at end of 2009

Democratic Primary

Rebecca Bell-Metereau: Feb. 22 report: $ 18,561.21; $ 5,177.40 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $10,614.51 in contributions, $15,311.34 cash on hand; January report: $17,797 in contributions, in $6,414.44 cash on hand at the end of 2009

Robert Bohmfalk: Reports no contributiosn or cash on hand this year

Daniel Boone: Feb. 22 report: $0 in contribution, $ 3,608.72 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $0 in contributions, $3,357.72 cash on hand; January report: $4,176.72 in contributions, in $3,457.72 cash on hand at the end of 2009

Josiah Ingalls: Feb. 22 report $0 in contributions, $ 6.15 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $0 contributions, $21.15 cash on hand; January report: $350 in contributions, in $36.15 cash on hand

District 9

This largely East-Central Texas district stretches from Plano to Bryan-College Station.

Don McLeroy (I): Feb. 22 report: $13,502 in contributions, $13,344.34 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $700 in contributions, $781.71 cash on hand; January report: $1,200 in contributions, $611.33 in cash on hand

Thomas Ratliff: Feb. 22 report: $12,656.96 in contributions; $9,501.70 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $6,775 in contributions, $11,590.25 cash on hand; January report: $15,173.20 in contributions, $8,098.50 in cash on hand

District 10

This district stretches from Williamson and northern Travis County to just west of Houston. Republican incumbent Cynthia Dunbar is not running for re-election.

Republican Primary

Marsha Farney: Feb. 22 report: $ 3,350 in contributions, $327.62 cash on hand; $117,527.73 in expenditures; Feb. 1 report: $20,900 in contributions, $0 cash on hand ($30,831.74 in expenditures; January report: no contributions, no cash on hand

Rebecca Osborne: Feb. 22 report: $ 6,524.28 in contributions, $4,305.67 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $3,300 in contributions, $8,495.09 cash on hand; January report: $5,416.00 in contributions, $5,515.09 in cash on hand

Brian Russell: Feb. 22 report: $ 5,415 in contributions, $7.520.45 cash on hand, $15,000 in loans from Russell to his campaign; Feb. 1 report: $725 in contributions, $7,658.20 cash on hand; January report: $8,229.40 in contributions, $7,455 in cash on hand

Democrat

Judy Jennings: No new report; January report: $15,900 in contributions, $14,072.31 in cash on hand

District 12

This is a Dallas-area district.

Republican Primary

Geraldine “Tincy” Miller (I): Feb. 22 report: $1,140 in contributions, $1,140 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $20 in contributions, $20 cash on hand; January report: no contributions or cash on hand, $48,685.71 in reported expenditures

George Clayton: Feb. 22 report: $20 in contributions, $0 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $2,045 in contributions, $0 cash on hand; January report: no contributions, no cash on hand

District 15

This district includes the Panhandle and much of West Texas.

Republican Primary

Bob Craig (I): Feb. 22 report: $ 11,000 in contributions, $ 5,869.80 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $2,200 in contributions, $4,643.31 cash on hand; January report: $4,000 in contributions, $4,443.31 in cash on hand

Randy Rives: February 22 report: $30,655 in contributions, $11,427.24 cash on hand; Feb. 1 report: $1,800.63 in contributions, $1,800.63 cash on hand; January report: no contributions, no cash on hand

8 Responses to “Money Flows to Far-Right SBOE Candidates”

  1. Coragyps Says:

    ” Mark Ramsey of Texans for Better Science Education”

    Truth in Advertising doesn’t apply to him? Or “better” has a meaning that I’m not familiar with, maybe…

  2. Charles Says:

    I’d bet my last dime that all of the following people contributed to the SBOE far right faction campaigns—yep— all moral, God-fearing, and responsible people:

  3. Yankee Says:

    You can thank the Citizens United case for this. Now all political offices are up for sale-to those who can afford it.

  4. AndrewR Says:

    “And the biggest winner in the fundraising sweepstakes this month is West Texas candidate Randy Rives, who appears to be the far right’s best hope to pick up a seat on the state board.”

    OK, tell us what we have to do to STOP this. Other than money (I have none) what can we do to get Dems and/or Libs on the boards??? Please let me know. If I have to go out to West Texas I will.

  5. Robert Says:

    Is that a typo in Marsha Farney’s (District 10) expenditure total? $117,527.73! How can that be?

  6. TFN Says:

    It appears that a large part of Farney’s expenditures came from her own personal funds. At least that’s how it looks on her finance reports.

  7. Mainstream Says:

    I was surprised to see Michael Boylan donating to these folks. He is a past supporter of general GOP causes, state Rep. Bohac, and Associated Republicans of Texas, whose primary interest was redistricting and party control of the state house. I asked him last night about his donations. He denies caring about creationism, but was unable to articulate a reason he donated.

  8. TFN Says:

    Mainstream,
    Interesting info. Thanks for sharing. Boylan has donated nearly $9,000 in the last month to four creationists running for State Board of Education seats, including incumbents Don McLeroy and Ken Mercer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: