Waters is running against former State Rep. Steve Toth, who was one of the most conservative members of the legislature, and is looking to re-enter the fight in the Texas House.
The eight-day report, which covers the period from January 26 to February 24, reveals that Waters raised a total of $56,546. However, $40,221 of her donations (or 71%) were in-kind donations from the deceptively named Associated Republicans of Texas PAC.
ART is not part of or affiliated with the Republican Party. It is a PAC that exists to support and give cover to allies of outgoing House Speaker Joe Straus.
Straus is, in fact, ART’s largest donor in 2018, having given the PAC $250,000. Not surprisingly, the candidates they are supporting are a who’s who of legislators aligned with Straus and opposed to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
ART is supporting State Rep. Sarah Davis (R- West University Place), who was the lowest scoring Republican on Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s Fiscal Index, and is openly pro-abortion. ART is also backing State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), known for a 2016 op-ed in which he called President Trump a “bigoted, orange, buffoonish, ignorant ape,” prior to the general election against Hillary Clinton.
ART’s heavy expenditures on behalf of Waters have raised eyebrows, since Toth is widely regarded as the favorite to win, and most of the Austin lobby has stayed out of the race. However, Montgomery County GOP Chair Wally Wilkerson could be the reason. Wilkerson, who shows open disdain for grassroots conservatives, serves is the co-chair of the candidates committee for ART, and reportedly encouraged Waters to run.
Water’s donations from ART indicate the kind of establishment representative she would be in Austin.
Toth, on the other hand, has a legislative track record of fighting for the taxpayers and against the Austin lobby, which is why this Straus-funded PAC is putting money into a desperate, last minute attempt to defeat him.