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