December 10, 1998
TLR: Long on cash, short on wins

Austin: Like a sick whale awash on the shore, Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) finds itself gasping for air after suffering humbling loses in the 1998 elections.

TLR showered more than $800,000 on its 15 favorite legislative candidates in the last election cycle. Despite this massive infusion of cash, voters rejected 10 of TLR's favorite fifteen candidates. Three of TLR's winners enjoyed the advantage of incumbency, and two were Republicans running in open seat races in districts where the Republican composite index was 54% or higher.

None of the four favorite challengers bankrolled by TLR managed to turn his tub of TLR cash into victory. Meanwhile, five of the seven candidates TLR backed in open seat races foundered.

TLR, the Moby Dick of Texas special interest PACs, has a radical agenda that includes harsh anti-consumer legislation and partisan overthrow of the Texas House of Representatives.

"TLR's radical agenda failed to pass muster with lawmakers in 1997, and now it's been largely rejected by voters as well," said TPJ director Craig McDonald. "TLR's quest to buy a private majority of public servants has been set back at the polls."

No legislative candidate was more bloated with TLR PAC cash than Mike Galloway (The Woodlands), whose trough was slopped with $135,815 from TLR. Despite this largess, Galloway was the first incumbent senator forced into retirement since he himself ousted Carl Parker.

TLR gave more money to Eddie Shauberger (HD20) than any other House candidate. Shauberger swallowed $77,459 from TLR (31% of his war chest) but still floundered against Rep. Zeb Zbranek, a repeated target of the leviathan PAC. (TLR also funded Zbranek's primary opponent, Scott Doyen, to the tune of $23,500. All told, TLR has spent $183,959 in three unsuccessful efforts to sink Zbranek.)

Five other House candidates relied on TLR for 25% or more of their war chests. These candidates were:

The whale-of-a-PAC calls itself bipartisan, but 98% of the funds TLR gave to its 15 favorite legislative candidates went to Republicans. The group made no contributions to Democrats challenging Republican incumbents or Democrats seeking open seats in the general election. TLR did, however, give $13,000 to Democrat Rob Junell, a safe incumbent. A curious fact for observers of partisan politics is Junell's acceptance of TLR contributions and his past sponsorship of key TLR special interest legislation. Ironically, Junell was the point man in 1998 for raising funds to support House Democratic incumbents, while TLR spent $225,090 this year in an unsuccessful effort to unseat four of Junell's Democratic colleagues in the House.
Texans for Lawsuit Reform's
Favored Fifteen
Candidate Dist TLR Cont Total Raised % TLR W/L I/C/O
Galloway, Mike (R) SD4 $135,815 $713,543 19% L I
Shauberger, Eddie (R) HD20 $77,459 $246,585 31% L C
Buffum, Ron (R) HD69 $76,082 $198,852 38% L O
Taylor, Larry (R) HD24 $69,372 $278,995 25% L C
Brown, Betty (R) HD4 $64,655 $221,754 29% W O
Fancher, Sue (R) HD3 $62,699 $188,282 33% L O
Jones, Charles (R) HD13 $61,000 $188,442 32% W O
Haywood, Tom (R) SD30 $58,807 $695,249 8% W I
Farrar, Becky (R) HD59 $53,772 $238,283 23% L O
Adams, Kent (R) HD21 $52,859 $296,004 18% L O
Bius, Ben (R) HD18 $40,814 $242,537 17% L O
Norman, Dave (R) HD23 $40,050 $238,504 17% L C
Christian, Wayne (R) HD9 $21,959 $161,490 14% W I
Bohac, Dwayne (R) HD138 $14,709 $245,825 6% L C
Junell, Rob (D) HD72 $13,000 $434,981 3% W I
  Total $843,052 $4,589,326 18%    
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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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