The infamous Texans for Economic Development, a PAC set up to support pro-gambling candidates for state office in Texas, threw around quite a bit of cash in time for the 30-day reports.
I’ll highlight the central Texas legislators and candidates who have benefited from the gambling lobby’s biggest funder. $5000 contributions went to Democrats Mark Strama, Donna Howard, Diana Maldonado, Abel Herrero, Allen Vaught, Chris Turner, Ellen Cohen, Hubert Vo, Joe Heflin, Joe Moody, Kristi Thibaut, Paula Pierson, Robert Miklos, Valinda Bolton, Veronica Gonzales, and Yvonne Gonzales-Toureilles. TED also gave $5000 contributions to Republicans Dan Branch and Chuck Hopson.
Their $2500 went to Democrats Scott Hochberg, Rolando Gutierrez, Lon Burnam, Jessica Farrar, Jim McReynolds, and Patrick Rose.
Texans for Economic Development currently has $230,000 in cash on hand, so don’t expect that their spending ended on 9/23.
This particular PAC isn’t the only funder that supports gambling, but their influence in these races is specifically meant to champion gambling expansion in Texas. When you look at the races they’re involved with, it’s easy to see that protecting certain elected officials is important to their scheme. Many of the weaker Democrats on this list will be instrumental in passing gambling legislation. Make no mistake about whether gambling will be an issue this coming session, either – House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts has already brought it up as a possible “solution” to the projected budget shortfall. The Texas Senate remains the major obstacle for gambling expansion – and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is not particularly keen on it, either – but the greater clamor in the House could make the difference.
This is another reason, in a long line of reasons, why what happens in the down-ballot Texas State House races is so vital this election cycle. Y’all probably know how I stand on this particular issue, but even if you don’t agree with me on it, you can probably see how the Texas House could affect your own hopes for it.
There is a lot of liberal/leftist PAC money in these Texas House races, both Republican and Democrat. Should make for interesting reading.