Religious-right candidates in two key Republican runoff elections on April 13 are badly trailing their opponents in the campaign funding race. But will that mean much on election day?
Marsha Farney is outspending her opponent more than 6-1 in the Texas State Board of Education District 10 Republican runoff, according to new finance reports. Farney, a Georgetown Republican, reported $130,516.60 in total expenditures since Feb. 21. Most of those expenditures appear to have come from her own personal funds — she raised only about $2,000 of that in new contributions.
Her opponent, Austin attorney Brian Russell, reported $20,351.27 in expenditures during the same period. He reported $13,537.78 in new contributions and $20,000 in outstanding loans to the campaign. Interestingly, Don McLeroy — a member of the state board’s far-right faction from College Station who lost his GOP primary on March 2 — gave $2,000 from his campaign to Russell’s. Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, contributed $500.
The runoff is set for April 13. The District 10 seat is currently held by Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who did not seek re-election but recruited Russell as her replacement. The Republican nominee will face Democrat Judy Jennings in the November election.
In another key Republican runoff race, Rick Green of Dripping Springs reported $74,773.73 in expenditures and $42,867.97 in his bid for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. His opponent, Debra Lehrmann of Colleyville, reported $277,220.20 in contributions and $264,301.73 in expenditures.
Lehrmann has 22 years experience as a judge on a district court bench. Green is a former state legislator and currently a speaker for WallBuilders, the far-right organization founded by David Barton, who argues that separation of church and state is a myth. Green also has negligible experience in a courtroom and a history of ethics problems. Yet a virtual “who’s who” of religious-right leaders across the state have endorsed his bid for the high court. Go figure.