Tag Archives: campaign money

Adrian Garcia Raises $1.5M in 56 Days

adrianpicThe Adrian Garcia for Mayor campaign reports raising $1.5 million in the 56 days it had to raise funds before the first reporting deadline. Giving credit to grassroots energy and a base of loyal supporters, Garcia states that voters are attracted to his fiscally responsible management practices during his terms as Sheriff.

Garcia:  “Our message that we reformed the Sheriff’s Office, saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, and kept people and families safe is resonating with voters across Houston.  We will bring that same fiscally responsible approach and smart management practices to tackle the tough issues at City Hall.  The broad base of support we have already built puts us well on the way to victory in November.”

Local pundits had stated that for Garcia to look viable he would need to report raising at least $500k during this period, shortened because he was still on the job as Sheriff. Pundits also stated he would need to raise $2 million or more to run a viable campaign thru the first round. What this blogger noticed upon Garcia’s launch was a burst of energy and excitement from supporters that I hadn’t seen in a local campaign, especially from people who aren’t always involved in the political process. From Garcia, I expect a pretty different campaign than what we have seen from others in the recent past.

That said, for perspective, Garcia’s fundraising abilities seem to be pretty awesome if one considers the first Annise Parker campaign in 2009 raised about $800,000 in a period of five months. Garcia’s campaign calls it unprecedented in Harris County. I’m not surprised that he could do it given the energy that is backing him up, but I think I did let out a “¡Hijole!” when I read the press release. Or something like that.

Garcia’s campaign is quick to point out that he basically started from zero in the fundraising department and that he did not transfer any money from his Sheriff’s campaign account. As the Garcia campaign stated:

“We have always believed that Texas Ethics Commission rules and the City of Houston’s campaign finance laws were clear that it is inappropriate to raise money into an account for a different office with the intent to transfer those funds into a city campaign account.  We saw this recently in San Antonio when Leticia Van De Putte ultimately decided not to transfer funds from her lieutenant governor’s campaign account into her mayoral campaign account.”

As some will recall, Garcia opponent, Sylvester Turner went on a fundraising frenzy during his re-election campaign for State Representative and it is known that he will be transferring as much of the million dollars in his legislative account into his mayoral campaign account as possible. It is what it is, I guess.

Obviously, I’m looking forward to the actual report, but I am told that in-kind contributions to Garcia were minimal considering that we’re talking seven figures in total contributions. So, we await the press releases and finance reports from everyone else in the race. I can’t say I’m a fan of money races in politics, but, as they say, “money isn’t everything in a campaign, but it helps.”

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Is Splitting Jail From Sheriff A Prelude To Privatization?

That’s what came to mind when I read Commissioner Steve Radack had floated the idea of separating the management of Harris County Jail from the Sheriff–whomever it may be.

A revolutionary idea is being pitched that would reshape the law enforcement agency by removing the troubled jail from the sheriff’s responsibilities. One county commissioner is leading the charge to create a new jail administrator who would answer to Commissioners Court rather than the sheriff.

Privatization is not a new idea in Harris County as Radack floated that idea a few years ago.

One thing is for sure, running a jail is a challenging job, especially when one inherits a bad situation that includes a bad internal culture. If a hired county employee as jail administrator is the outcome, there must be a complete culture change at the jail–a culture that allowed employees up and down the jail management hierarchy to lock up a mentally ill man in his own excrement and trash. Frankly, as the debate over law enforcement treatment of people continues, there is obviously some push-back to any change from law enforcement and their fans.

Of course, if the hired hand turns out to be a jail management contract to a private corporation, then that would be a useful political tool for blame if there are ever any future problems. If one company messes up, there is always another to pick up where the other left off. There is enough campaign money in officeholder accounts to make this happen, this much is obvious.

When one other commissioner is talking about “saving money” with this notion, my alarms go off. What do they want to cut? Will mental health and health care be farmed off to some private company that is probably a subsidiary of a private prison corporation?

Obviously, State Law still has jails under the Sheriff and this will be hard to change in the near future. A hired jail administrator may be a good idea if it comes with work toward a culture change within the ranks. But I’m pretty sure this isn’t part of the plan.

Obviously, county citizens need to keep an eye on the Commissioners Court.

The Latest City Campaign Money Reports Are Up!

There weren’t any surprises in the campaign finance reports, which were due yesterday. Mayor Annise Parker out-raised all of her opponents, while Ben Hall out-loaned all of his opponents.

Mayor Parker raised a little over $755K, spent $2.18M and has heads into the final month of campaigning with $1.193M. Hall, on the other hand, raised less than $200K for his SPAC, spent $1.3M, and had a little less than $263K in the bank. The big number on his report is the amount he’s loaned his SPAC–$1.8M. The Hall candidate account spent $190K, but it seems that’s just money he donated to the PAC.

There are other reports that I’ve looked at, but I’ll be updating this post throughout the day as I give them a deeper look. At-Large 3 did see a lot of activity, as well as District I.

As some say, money doesn’t win you elections, but it helps.

District I:  Graci Garces outraised all of her District I opponents, but as we move into the last month before election day (and a couple of weeks before early voting begins), cash on hand and what has currently been invested is important. Robert Gallegos has a little over $11K after spending $7K; Garces a little over $7400 after spending $30K; Mendez reports over $17K after spending  almost $26k; and Ablaza over $20K after spending $20K. From the looks of it, Gallegos is running things more from the grassroots than the rest seeing as how he doesn’t report much in consulting and staff expenses. That’s what was most noticeable, at least for me.

Kuff has more. Greg has stuff, too, on AL-3. Me, I got tired of looking at boring reports.