March 14, 2002
[download pdf version of this Lobby Watch]


Voters Love Candidates
That Free PAC Hates


Republican primary voters made love instead of war on Tuesday to every candidate that an extremist group opposed for purportedly being too tolerant of euthanasia, abortion and gays.

The Free Enterprise PAC reported spending $110,296 to oppose six Republican legislators, whom it denounced in mailings that contained sensationalist photos depicting such things as Dr. Kevorkian or two men kissing.
 

Free PAC Opposition Spending
Opposed
Candidate
Amount
Dist.
Result
Jeff Wentworth
$31,581
S25 Won
Kip Averitt
$31,256
S22 Won
Bill Ratliff
$25,240
S1 Won
Tommy Merritt
$8,398
H7 Won
Brian McCall
$7,020
H66 Won
Ed Kuempel
$6,801
H44 Won
TOTAL:
 $110,296
   
Free PAC chair Richard Ford said a week before the primaries that people were upset by his mailings because they were effective. "Somebody is reading the polls, and the mailings are making an impact or they wouldnít give us the time of day," he told the Austin American-Statesman.

After the polls closed it became clear that, if Free PACís hate mailings had an impact, it was not the intended one.

Free PAC spent more money to oppose candidates ($110,296) than it did to support them ($92,432). Its opposition expenditures targeted incumbents while its campaign contributions aided candidates seeking open seats or challenging incumbents (Free PACís sole incumbent, Rep. Betty Brown, faced no primary challenge).

Although it spent less money supporting candidates than it did opposing them, Free PAC had more success with the 20 candidates it supported than with the six winning candidates whom it trashed.
 

Free PAC-Backed Candidates
Result
No. of
Candidates
Percent
Free PAC
Spending
Run Off
35%
$31,000
Won
7
35%
$26,000
Lost
6
30%
$35,432
Total:
20
100%
$92,432
Seven Free PAC candidates won their GOP primaries (one ran unopposed) and seven more of them will proceed to a run off next month.

Yet GOP primary voters rejected six other Free PAC candidates, including the one who received the most Free PAC money (Senate candidate Karen Lundelius, whom upwardly mobile Rep. Kim Brimer defeated).

With all of Free PACís hateful attacks boomeranging, Texas politicians might be better advised to outdo each other in their tolerance of homosexuals and anyone who confronts tough choices about abortion and euthanasia. ē
 
 

Free PAC Expenditures For Candidates
Candidate Amount District Status Result
Karen Lundelius
$20,000
S10
O
Lost
Ken Paxton
$15,000
H70
O
Run off
Scott Campbell
$5,000
H72
O
Won
Tom Butler
$5,000
H128
O
Run off
Charles Luke
$5,000
H60
C
Lost
Corbin Van Arsdale
$5,000
H130
O
Won
Dan Flynn
$5,000
H2
O
Won
Larry Taylor
$5,000
H24
O
Won
Jerry Yost
$3,846
S1
C
Lost
*Ed Harrison
$2,976
S22
O
Lost
Bill Keffer
$2,500
H107
O
Run off
Dan Gattis
$2,500
H20
O
Run off
Dwayne Bohac
$2,500
H138
O
Won
Jeff VanFleet
$2,500
H15
O
Lost
Jodie Laubenberg
$2,500
H89
O
Run off
Willliam Zedler
$2,500
H96
O
Won
Mark Cole
$2,500
H134
O
Run off
*Curt Hinshaw
$1,110
H7
C
Lost
Walt Fair
$1,000
H56
O
Run off
Betty Brown
$1,000
H4
I
Won
 Total:
$92,432
     
Key: O = Open Seat; C = Challenger; I = Incumbent
* Free PAC contributions to these candidates occurred in the 11th hour after the last pre-primary reporting period.


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Texans for Public Justice is a non-partisan, non-profit policy & research organization
 which tracks the influence of money in politics.


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