John Nau, Chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages, is spending big in the upcoming House District 2 special election.

Direct contributions made by Nau and the spending of the Nau-backed Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) and Associated Republicans of Texas (ART) are in opposition to Gov. Greg Abbott.

While Abbott has endorsed Brent Money in the race for the open seat, Nau, who serves as Abbott’s campaign treasurer, is throwing in with Jill Dutton. Nau donated $50,000 to Dutton on January 18, the day after he gave the ARTPAC a matching $50,000 donation. That same day, ART spent $36,901 on Dutton in her race.

In the first round of this election, Dutton was the candidate with the most cash, bringing in nearly $450,000. Most of the contributions were from TLR and ART, which Nau loaded up for the election cycle with $1 million in November.

Thus far, in 2024, ART has spent more than $118,310 on behalf of Dutton in the form of campaign mailers, block walking, and digital advertising. That’s in addition to the $160,852 that the PAC spent on the race in the final quarter of 2023.

Dutton came in second place with 25 percent of the vote to Money’s 32 percent.

The Dutton-Money matchup isn’t the only race this cycle where Nau, TLR, and ART are likely to fund candidates who are being challenged by Abbott-backed candidates.

At this point in the cycle, ART has donated opposition research to Representatives Ernest Bailes, Drew Darby, and Hugh Shine, among others, and TLR has similarly donated polling to Glenn Rogers, Steve Allison, and DeWayne Burns. All have challengers endorsed by Abbott.

This isn’t the first time this month that Nau’s political activities have notably been in contrast to Abbott’s. Texas Scorecard reported earlier this month that Nau was backing the presidential bid of Nikki Haley, while Abbott has endorsed Donald Trump.

Early voting is already underway in the HD2 run-off; Election Day is Tuesday, January 30.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is the Director of Innovation for Texas Scorecard.