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Fundraising: Harris County

The top story for the Harris County money race is that County Judge Ed Emmett has a big lead in financial resources over challenger Gordon Quan.

Gordon Quan said he knew from the start that challenging County Judge Ed Emmett would be a David and Goliath race. Their bank accounts now confirm this: Quan has $63,000 to sling against Emmett’s million-dollar might.

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“The onus is on Gordon to close that gap, and quickly, if he’s going to have a shot,” said political consultant Keir Murray, who is not affiliated with either campaign.

Nonetheless, Murray and others said, the race is not over before it really has started. Quan still has time to raise money.

County races also are influenced by top-of-the-ticket contests, such as this year’s gubernatorial election between Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and Democrat Bill White. Emmett and Quan’s names are deep into a ballot that in some places will be dozens of pages long.

“When you have a ballot with over 100 names on it, I don’t know that people are going to be looking for just my name or his name,” Quan said.

The surgery took him away from the campaign for six weeks, Quan said, but he now is in the midst of a schedule of speaking at ethnic gatherings, Democratic club meetings and senior citizens events.

You can see Quan’s report here and Emmett’s very large report here. Prevailing conditions, straight ticket voting, and GOTV efforts will likely have more of an effect on the county races than campaign finances will, but as we saw in 2008 that only goes so far. Emmett has incumbency, greater name recognition, and modulo what may happen this season, he still wears a halo from his performance during Hurricane Ike. He’s got to like the position he’s in right now.

Nobody else has anywhere near Emmett’s resources, which is not surprising given that with the possible exception of Tax Assessor, none of these offices are high profile enough to draw a lot of interest from the contributing classes. Here’s what I found poking through the county’s campaign finance reports page.

Ann Harris Bennett Contributions - 34,010.00 Expenditures - 7,130.36 Loans - 0.00 Cash on hand - 26,728.24 Stan Stanart Contributions - 2,425.00 Expenditures - 2,314.81 Loans - 20,000.00 Cash on hand - 13,415.56

Bennett got $10,000 from Annie’s List, $3,000 from the ROADWomen PAC, $1,500 from EMILY’s List, and a decent assortment of other donations besides. About half of Stanart’s expenditures were listed on the Schedule G form, which is for expenditures made from personal funds. He likes the Spaghetti Warehouse – I counted a dozen entries for what I presume was lunch for himself there, ten on the Schedule Fs and two on the Gs. His loan must have been made in a previous reporting period, as it was not documented in this report.

Diane Trautman Contributions - 60,566.00 Expenditures - 18,323.00 Loans - 0.00 Cash on hand - 74,766.04 Don Sumners Contributions - 1,500.00 Expenditures - 2,501.76 Loans - 0.00 Cash on hand - 1,500.00

Sumners had four contributors – former Coucil Member Bruce Tatro, both Kubosh brothers, and a woman named Mary Williams. Trautman had nearly 50 pages’ worth of contributors, including the same donations as Bennett from Annie’s List, EMILY’s List, and the ROADWomen. She also got $1000 from her peeps in the Kingwood Area Democrats. I am deeply gratified to see her do so well in comparison to Sumners.

Loren Jackson Contributions - 63,030.16 Expenditures - 42,617.70 Loans - 0.00 Cash on hand - 49,396.30 Chris Daniel Contributions - 32,000.00 Expenditures - 45,989.86 Loans - 20,000.00 Cash on hand - 2,148.56

The money race between Loren Jackson and Chris Daniel may appear competitive, but if you go through Daniel’s report, you’ll see he had two enormous contributions from family members (his mom, and I believe his sister), totaling $29,100. As it happens, one of his expenditures is for that exact amount, with the explanation that it’s the payment of loans from earlier in the cycle. In other words, taking out that bit of churn, Daniel raised less than $3,000 and spent about $17,000 on actual campaign-related things, $5,000 of which was money going into Allen Blakemore’s pocket. Jackson had a $4,500 contribution from the Texas Democratic Party plus a few $2,500 donations.

Billy Briscoe Contributions - 16,445.76 Expenditures - 13,671.74 Loans - 2,500.00 Cash on hand - 3,024.02 Orlando Sanchez Contributions - 1,850.00 Expenditures - 1,054.53 Loans - 5,175.00 Cash on hand - 933.76

I had no idea what to expect from Briscoe, who’s seeking the least useful office in Harris County. His total contributions looks good, except that $14,195.76 of it is listed as coming from “Campaign Account of Billy Briscoe”. I guess that’s a transfer from a previous campaign, but I don’t know for sure. As for Orlando, clearly he’s as diligent about fundraising as he is at his job. Having said that, his expenditures report had the best single line item I’ve seen. On page six, the third entry down is $16.00 for a subscription to “Glamour” magazine. I guess he has to do something to while away those lonely hours. All I know is I couldn’t make this stuff up.

UPDATE: Briscoe’s $14,195.76 came from his campaign for State Rep. Thanks to PDiddie in the comments for reminding me about that.

UPDATE: Orlando speaks to the Press about his “Glamour” subscription. Why he didn’t just buy the one issue he says he needed from a newsstand remains a mystery, but at least we now know why he subscribed.

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12 Comments

  1. Burt Levine says:

    Spaghetti Warehouse is where the Downtown Houston Pachyderm meets each Thursday.

  2. PDiddie says:

    Charles: from your archives a little over a year ago, Briscoe threw his hat in the ring against Al Edwards. Perhaps that’s where the $14K came from.

  3. Greg Wythe says:

    “On page six, the third entry down is $16.00 for a subscription to “Glamour” magazine.”

    Makeup tips?

  4. Mainstream says:

    Spaghetti Warehouse is the meeting location of one of the active weekly Republican clubs in the county.

  5. jaye says:

    I am confused. Why is Loren Jackson running so soon.? Didn’t he get elected in 2008 to a four year term? And which district judges are running now because many of them got elected in 2008, too.

    Was there a change in how Harris County does these things? And why? Isn’t this a little expensive to have this on a two year cycle when it used to be a four year cycle?

  6. Jaye – Loren Jackson is running for election to a four-year term. He was elected to fill Charles Bacarisse’s unexpired term in 2008. Bacarisse won re-election in 2006, then resigned to run for the GOP nomination for County Judge in 2008. Jackson defeated Theresa Chang, who was appointed to replace Bacarisse. For the same reason, Ed Emmett is on the ballot again – he won in 2008 to serve out the rest of Robert Eckels’ term, and is now running for re-election for a full four-year term. The winner of the race for Tax Assessor will be in the same position in 2012.

  7. Jaye says:

    How exhausting. I didn’t think the election cycle had changed. I forgot about those unexpired terms created by vacancies.

  8. [...] shortage in decent shape, too. With no Congressional races of interest, and the County Judge race not evenly matched early on, these may be the highest profile contests in the county this [...]

  9. [...] the Kuff took a look at campaign finance reports for Harris County candidates and State Reps. Along the way, he answered the burning question “What kind of man subscribes [...]

  10. [...] the Kuff took a look at campaign finance reports for Harris County candidates and State Reps. Along the way, he answered the burning question “What kind of man subscribes [...]

  11. [...] the Kuff took a look at campaign finance reports for Harris County candidates and State Reps. Along the way, he answered the burning question “What kind of man subscribes [...]

  12. [...] the Kuff took a look at campaign finance reports for Harris County candidates and State Reps. Along the way, he answered the burning question “What kind of man subscribes [...]

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