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30 day financial reports, Harris County offices

Candidates for county offices who are in contested primaries are also required to submit 30 day campaign finance reports. I’ve been going through the County Clerk’s campaign finance reports page to collect what’s there; ones for Democratic races are on the 2012 Primary page. Since I whined so piteously last time about how sucky the Clerk’s CFR page is, I am compelled to note that it has been updated, and sucks a bit less as a result. At the very least, you can now see results for all candidates, and you can order it by name or office. Those changes saved me a lot of mousing and clicking, and for that I thank whoever it was in Stan Stanart’s office that did something about this, whether my whining had anything to do with it or not. It’s still the case that everything is a scanned PDF and thus needlessly large and un-copy-and-paste-able, but it’s a step forward and I do appreciate it.

With that out of the way, here are some selected reports and my commentary on them.

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Fertitta DA 53,000 49,739 0 145,144 Oliver DA 0 325 0 0 Lykos DA 146,222 159,353 0 288,759 Anderson DA 175,870 130,524 0 180,678

Lots of money here, with the notable exception of Lloyd Oliver, for obvious reasons. I’m obviously not on any target lists to get mail for the GOP race, and I don’t listen to AM radio outside the occasional Texans game when I’m not at home, so I have no idea how much Lykos and Anderson have been spreading it around. Please leave a comment if you can fill us in on that.

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Garcia Sheriff 73,277 22,847 0 329,849 Jones Sheriff Massey El Sheriff Pittman Sheriff 32,480 49,977 24,000 13,872 Guthrie Sheriff 44,584 80,483 67,000 22,742 Monzon Sheriff 15,705 23,871 0 6,746 Day Sheriff 2,164 1,782 1,072 914 Lemkuil Sheriff 1,100 19,719 20,969 1,100 Heuszel Sheriff 6,200 37,252 44,801 15,019 Alessi Sheriff 121 162 274 717

Remington Alessi is the Green Party candidate for Sheriff. I had no idea there was a Green Party candidate for Sheriff and had assumed he was another Republican in that crowded field until I happened to notice a pending Facebook friend request from him. Neither Delores Jones, who did file a report in January, nor Charles Massey El, who did not, have 30 day reports up. Sheriff Garcia’s totals speak for themselves. On the GOP side, neither Brian Steinocher nor Guy Clark have filed any finance reports. Beyond that, what stands out to me is the amount of money that GOP Sheriff candidates have gotten in loans. I didn’t check each report to see who loaned them all that dough – usually, it’s the candidates themselves or a family member – but that’s over $150K in loans for a job that pays $181K. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a wise investment or not.

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Talton Cty Attorney 9,825 43,300 37,500 6,892 Johnson Cty Attorney 50,150 28,443 40,000 61,706

And here’s the first result that I wasn’t expecting. Robert Talton had this nomination to himself until the February re-filing period, when Leslie Johnson jumped in. She only filed her appointment of Treasurer on March 9, so that’s a lot of fundraising in a short period of time. Her finance report has some familiar names on it – $10K each from Bob and Doylene Perry, $5K from Richard Weekley, and $10K from a Roy Johnson, who I’m guessing is a relative, though apparently not her husband. She has the endorsement of the previous two County Attorneys, Michael Fleming and Mike Stafford, and quite a few other elected Republicans. Apparently, the establishment is against Talton. That isn’t a surprise in and of itself, but if that were the case you’d think they’d have had an alternate candidate in place before the initial filing deadline. I mean, had it not been for SCOTUS scrambling the legislative districts there wouldn’t have been a re-filing period. Again, I implore my GOP readers to help me out here, since I found nothing relevant about her or her late entry on Google: What’s up with this?

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Sumners Tax Assessor 650 6,187 0 3,670 Sullivan Tax Assessor 31,795 70,576 0 19,021

I don’t even know what to say. The only plausible explanation is that Don Sumners is not trying to raise money. If that’s not the case, then I have no idea why challenger Mike Sullivan (who as we know started the race with a significant amount of cash left over from his Council campaign) looks like the incumbent and Sumners looks like some no-name longshot.

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Trautman HCDE Trustee 3,840 4,876 0 8,987 Rosen HCDE Trustee 6,150 3,007 0 515 Lee HCDE Trustee 20,355 7,525 0 Flowers HCDE Trustee 4,752 948 0 1,629 Johnson HCDE Trustee Wolfe HCDE Trustee 2,475 6,000 500 694 Johnson HCDE Trustee 400 0 0 400 Garcia HCDE Trustee 3,000 1,392 0 15,893 Smith HCDE Trustee 500 70 0 0

Erica Lee’s report did not have a cash on hand total. Jarvis Johnson still has not filed a report of any kind, or as far as I can tell as someone who lives in Precinct 1 engaged in anything that could remotely be called campaign activity. Why he bothered to file, and then didn’t un-file when he could have, is a mystery to me. I just hope his name ID doesn’t propel him into a runoff.

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Vara-Leija Constable 1 70,064 22,237 0 46,943 Castleberry Constable 1 Whitaker Constable 1 0 13,036 0 0 Rosen Constable 1 116,287 93,301 0 46,266 Talamantez Constable 1 0 0 0 0

Richard Talamantez was a late filer for this office. I’ve seen a few signs for him in my neighborhood, so he’s clearly spent some money, but his report does not reflect that. Grady Castleberry’s report has been submitted but has not been posted even though its posting date was May 1 and the file image is supposed to be available within two business days. Quincy Whitaker’s expenditures were all made from personal funds, hence the zeros in amount raised and cash on hand. I must say, Cindy Vara-Leija and especially Alan Rosen have some impressive numbers for what’s supposedly a quiet, low-turnout year. I’ll bet everyone holds a few dollars back in anticipation of a runoff.

Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Kirkland Civil Ct 215 54,455 72,863 0 59,577 Palmer Civil Ct 215 100,800 103,878 10,000 13,027

One more set of eye-popping numbers, from Elaine Palmer. Of course, if you read Patti Hart’s column from April 19, this shouldn’t be that big a surprise. What was a surprise to me was that $92,000 of Palmer’s funds came from a total of eight sources, and that several of them were from out of state. These were the main donors that I saw on her finance report:

Mike Campbell, Lakeland FL – $5,000
Campbell Law Firm, Lakeland FL – $5,000

Merrida Coxwell, Ridgeland MS – $5,000
Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, Jackson MS – $5,000

Robert Goldwater, Scottsdale AZ – $5,000
Goldwater Law Firm, Scottsdale AZ – $,5000

David Holman, Kingwood TX – $5000
Holman Law Firm, Houston TX – $30,000

Scott Fleming, Houston TX – $5,000

Paul Kubosh, Houston TX – $5,000

Cliff Roberts, Houston TX – $5,000

Texans For Good Leaders PAC – $12,000

As Hart pointed out, that “Texans For Good Leaders” PAC is funded solely by Houston attorney George Fleming, who has a bit of a vendetta against Judge Kirkland. Once again Fleming was the sole donor to the PAC, giving it $25K; its $12K donation to Palmer was its only relevant expenditure. I’m going to guess Scott Fleming is a relative of George Fleming’s as well. Who Mike Campbell, Merrida Coxwell, and Robert Goldwater are, and what their interest in this race is, I have no idea.

That’s it for Harris County. I will report on legislative races from outside Harris County next week.

UPDATE: Forgot to include a sixth Democratic candidate for Constable in Precinct 1, Jaime Tellez, whose report is here. He claims to have raised $11,575 and spent $16,179, but his two biggest items – VAN access from the TDP and advertising with Aubrey Taylor – are listed both as in kind donations and expenses.

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6 Comments

  1. Noel Freeman says:

    Of note is that Palmer refunded $44,000 in contributions.

  2. Mainstream says:

    I am not an authority or fully in the know, but Leslie Johnson worked in the County Attorney’s office under Fleming. She may have considered contesting the county court at law slot which went by appointment to Theresa Chang. Some Republicans are concerned that Talton would be a weak candidate (or inflame a turnout against the whole ticket) because of his very conservative social positions. Some are unhappy with county chair Woodfill, and Talton works at Woodfill’s law firm. But the most common explanation I hear is that Talton, who is perceived rightly or wrongly as a plaintiffs’ trial lawyer, opposed tort reform when he served in the legislature, and tort reform is popular with business interests in the GOP. I don’t know what Radack’s reasons are. Talton can be a tad rigid and crusty, a scrapper, but zealous defense of a client is part of the role.

    The hard right base in the Republican primary seems to be sticking with Talton, who has some relevant experience having worked as a contract city attorney for a few of the smaller towns in the county. Johnson is picking up an impressive roster of endorsements, but the time until the lightly attended primary is short.

  3. honest politics says:

    did LATONYA ALLEN file her reports on time? she should be fined by the texas ethics commision

  4. Martha Johnson says:

    Leslie would probably funnel business to Mike Stafford and Fleming on “conflict litigation” whereas Talton made it clear he would not. Vince has apparently dried up all the county money both ex-CAO holders were hoping their firms might get.

    Since Talton would not pay to play and since the “I’ll resign and you file the same day” scheme fell through with Judge Jackie Lucie Smith, Leslie got goaded into running by Radack.

    (but if you were to ask Leslie why she was running I am certain she genuinely believes she is running for other reasons).

    Follow the money

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