As political campaigns begin to reach the homestretch before November elections, Republican incumbents of two contested Texas House seats have far more money in their war chests than do their Democratic challengers.
According to data on the Texas Ethics Commission website, state Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, boasts a total of $194,685.62 cash on hand, while state Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, has $853,144.60, according to reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Jonathan Hildner, D-Killeen, who is challenging Buckley for his District 54 seat, reported a total of $10,165.75 cash on hand, and Tristian Sanders, D-Killeen, who has his sights set on Shine’s District 55 seat, reported a total of $328.64 cash on hand.
All candidates filed campaign finance reports recently for financial activities, including political contributions and expenditures, for the period of Jan. 1 through June 30.
A look at the campaign finance reports for Buckley and Shine reveal high-dollar contributions from political action committees — with some commonalities — as well as individual donors.
Hildner’s finance reports, on the other hand, reveal smaller contributions from more individual donors — some from as far away as Florida, Chicago and California.
Sanders’ finance reports that are available on the Ethics Commission’s website primarily show expenditures, which totaled $1,312.63. His reports indicated a total of $100 of contributions.
“The campaign has been going pretty well so far,” Sanders said Saturday. “We’ve done well with reaching out to everybody and getting our message out there. And that’s the way that we’ve been trying to gather votes and get our fundraising is to talk to them. Because when we’re out there trying to talk to them, that’s how we’re able to help our fundraising.”
Buckley, Shine and Hildner each have notable individuals who have contributed to their campaigns.
Among the several pages of contributions, Buckley has received money from former Bell County Republican Party Chair Nancy Boston and her husband, 1st National Bank-Central Texas President/CEO Bobby Hoxworth, the Isdale Chiropractic Clinic in Killeen, Belton multimillionaire Drayton McLane Jr., Texas A&M University-Central Texas President Marc Nigliazzo and Killeen ISD school board member JoAnn Purser.
“Our campaign continues to meet and exceed our fundraising goals and I am confident we will do the same as the general election approaches,” Buckley said via email last week. “We continue to serve our existing constituents and meet the new voters of HD54 to hear their concerns and issues. I look forward to earning their support to go back to Austin and work for the fine folks of Bell County.”
McLane and Nigliazzo also donated to Shine’s campaign. Shine also received contributions from businesses and individuals such as Carothers Executive Homes in Belton and Don Ringler Investments of Belton.
“Since the end of the last session of the Legislature and special sessions last fall, I’ve been traveling the district,” Shine said in a phone interview last week. “I’ve been meeting with voters, working with the Chamber of Commerce in Harker Heights and the city council in Harker Heights and Nolanville and just traveling the district, meeting with voters, raising money so that I can run a successful campaign this fall. My fundraising success is a direct response to the message that I’m resonating out there.”
Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Ken Wilkerson serves as Hildner’s campaign treasurer. He has monetarily contributed to the campaign as well. Among the other notable individuals giving to Hildner are Bell County WCID-1 board member Sandra Blankenship; local activist Philemon Brown; local lawyer, professor and activist Aya Eneli; and former Killeen City Councilwoman Shirley Fleming.
“I’m proud of the momentum that our campaign has built and the enthusiasm that our supporters have brought us in helping us raise more than $30,000 and ensuring that we have over $10,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the last reporting cycle,” Hildner said via email last week.