Campaign Finance Update

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.

6 thoughts on “Campaign Finance Update

  1. Lehrmann has run a dismal campaign, failing to show up or send representatives to many gatherings of GOP grassroots folks, the sort who tend to turn out in a low participation run-off. Nor has she mailed widely, so far as I can determine. She has to be considered the underdog. She would need hundreds of thousands to advertise to counter the grassroots support, and endorsements from groups like Right to Life, Texas Home School Coalition, Dr. Hotze, and similar groups and individuals.

  2. I hope that Lehrmann wins, so that Texas will not be the Laughing stock of the whole U S.

  3. That’s not what I said. To elect a person of Green’s caliber to a high court, when his opponent is a highly qualified jurist , suggests that the voters of Texas are ignorant.

  4. I’ve received a couple mailers from the Farney campaign for the run-off, nothing yet from Russell. Just scanned the Farney mailers and have a draft for them on my blog that I should post later today (hopefully). I think it’s fair to characterize both candidates in SBOE-10 as Religious Right, even though Russell is far and away the most extreme of the two; Farney is playing a very conservative hand herself right now. You probably remember the Texas Right to Life PAC robocall for Russell. Now Farney’s mailers (both I’ve received) include a bright red “seal” touting her as also having a 100% rating on the pro-life questionnaire. More later, but here’s a close-up scan of the picture of her on the second mailer I received showing the pro-life seal.