UPDATED February 20 to clarify Jamee Jolly’s husband’s connection to TREPAC.

As early voting in Texas’ March 1 primary election gets underway this week, candidates are vying for votes to become their parties’ nominees in November, and spending big money in the process.

According to Transparency USA, Texas campaign contributions this election cycle have topped $315 million, with Republicans collecting about 75 percent of all money given directly to candidates.

Along with all statewide offices, every seat in the Texas Legislature is on the ballot in 2022.

Texas Scorecard looked at campaign finance reports of Republican primary candidates in two legislative districts in Collin County—House Districts 61 and 70—to find out how much financial support each candidate has received and where the money came from.

Both districts’ boundaries changed significantly during last year’s redistricting process. The new HD 61 was redrawn to be solidly Republican, while HD 70 was drawn to favor Democrats. Right now, all partisan elected officials in Collin County are Republicans.

Neither race includes an incumbent, making both attractive to multiple candidates. Runoffs are possible in both races.

Campaign cash is based on candidates’ most recent reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

House District 61

Three Republicans are running to fill the open House District 61 seat.  The newly redrawn district lies within current House District 70, where incumbent State Rep. Scott Sanford (R–McKinney) chose not to run for re-election after serving four terms.

All three candidates have raised similar amounts of money, but from very different sources. Cash amounts are as of January 20.

Paul Chabot
Total Contributions: $101,791
Total Loans: $100,000
Total Cash on Hand: $113,030

Chabot is a former military and law enforcement officer who moved to McKinney from California in 2016. He runs a nationwide real estate company called Conservative Move, which gave his campaign $25,000. His business partner Derek Baker chipped in $1,000 plus another $1,000 from his campaign fund.

A significant number of Chabot’s contributions are from donors outside the state, mainly California.

His campaign also took $100,000 in loans, half from Chabot and half from Plano real estate developer Cary Platt.

Frederick Frazier
Total Contributions: $199,724
Total Loans: $20,000
Total Cash on Hand: $108,348

Frazier is a Dallas police officer who lives in McKinney. He stepped down during his first term on the McKinney City Council to run for the open state House seat. He gave $3,569 from his city campaign fund to his state race, along with a $20,000 loan.

Council member and real estate broker Rick Franklin contributed $5,000, and Mayor George Fuller, who’s also in the real estate business, kicked in $2,500 from his campaign fund.

Al least $28,000 more came from other local real estate interests who each contributed $2,000 to $5,000, including $4,000 from McKinneyTEAM PAC member Bill Darling. Dallas investors Darwin and Doug Deason gave Frazier a combined $7,500.

About $35,000 of Frazier’s financial support comes from police and firefighter groups, including $3,000 from the Dallas Police Officers PAC, which Frazier chairs.

Austin-based lobbyists and consultants contributed a combined $5,000. Two Republican state representatives also made substantial donations: Chris Paddie, who gave $1,000 from his campaign fund, and Lyle Larson (one of the most liberal Republicans in the House), who gave $2,500.

Jim Herblin
Total Contributions: $130,037
Total Loans: $22,869
Total Cash on Hand: $9,283

Herblin is a CPA, forensic accountant, and small-business owner in Prosper, as well as a former Richardson ISD school board member.

His campaign is financed primarily by his sister, Amy Lancaster, who contributed $80,000. Another $20,000 came from PLJ2, a Dallas-based client of Herblin’s, and a total of $17,500 came from four other donors.

The HD 61 Republican primary winner is expected to win the November general election. Sheena King is running unopposed in the Democrat primary and has raised about $11,000, almost half ($5,000) from Women Organizing Women Democrats.

House District 70

Five Republicans are competing for the open HD 70 seat, even though it will be an uphill battle for the GOP primary winner to prevail in November.

District boundaries were moved from the northeastern part of Collin County that included McKinney to a southwest corner that scoops up parts of Plano, Dallas, and Allen. Republican voters were moved into the two other state House districts in the county, HD 66 and HD 67, to shore up State Reps. Matt Shaheen (Plano) and Jeff Leach (Allen).

Eric Bowlin
Total Contributions: $954
Total Loans: $292,238
Total Cash on Hand: $240,985

Bowlin is a real estate professional and army veteran who lives in Plano. He is self-funding his campaign with more than $290,000 in loans.

LaDale Buggs
Total Contributions: $7,334
Total Loans: $10,000
Total Cash on Hand: $7,334

Buggs is a Richardson real estate investor. More than half of his campaign money comes from a $10,000 loan from himself.

Daniel Chandler
Total Contributions: $5,000
Total Cash on Hand: $4,592

Chandler is a retired feed and fertilizer investigator and family farmer, as well as a singer/songwriter. The Dallas resident devotes his time to Christian ministry and advocating for Republican legislative priorities. He’s self-funding his campaign.

Jamee Jolly
Total Contributions: $50,125
Total Loans: $900
Total Cash on Hand: $16,721

Jolly is a recent past president of the Plano Chamber of Commerce and former executive director of Plano ISD’s Education Foundation. Local voters have raised questions about whether the Plano resident actually lives within the district. She’s also considered to be the Republican candidate most closely aligned with Democrats by some in both parties.

More than half of Jolly’s campaign funding ($31,500) comes from realtors, including $25,000 from the Texas Realtors PAC (Jolly’s husband was president of Texas Realtors in 2021 and served several years as a TREPAC trustee). She received $5,000 from Plano attorney Chris Downs, $2,000 from Plano Mayor John Muns’ wife, and $1,000 each from four other local business people.

Hayden Padgett
Total Contributions: $21,761
Total Cash on Hand: $16,512

Padgett is a California transplant who lives in Plano and works as a software product manager. He worked his way up the ranks of Young Republicans in what many saw as preparation for a run for political office.

More than a third of Padgett’s campaign money comes from out-of-state donors, almost $4,600 from California and another $3,500 from other states. He’s received $1,000 contributions from the Dallas Police Officers PAC, state Senate candidate Matt Rostami (who has a recent history of donating to Democrats), and four area business owners. Multiple local Young Republican members are also supporting Padgett’s campaign.

Whoever wins the HD 70 Republican nomination will face the winner of a three-way Democrat primary between Cassandra Garcia Hernandez, Mihaela Plesa, and Lorenzo Sanchez in the general election.

Early voting in the March 1 primary elections began on February 14.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.

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