GOP’s High Court Candidates Out-Raise Democrats 3:1
|For Immediate Release:|
For More Information Contact:
|July 27, 2002|
Craig McDonald, 512-472-9770
Austin, TX: By July 2002, the 10 major party Texas Supreme Court candidates who survived the March primaries already raised a total of $2,982,684 in the 2002 election cycle, a new Texans for Public Justice study reports. The Republican primary weeded out four other candidates who raised an additional $1.7 million—including incumbent Justice Xavier Rodriguez.
“Despite Chief Justice Phillips’ pledge to reject new campaign contributions for his reelection bid, candidates for other court seats are raking in special-interest money as usual,” said Texans for Public Justice director Craig McDonald. “The candidates names have changed, but their sponsors remain the same. Law firms and the so-called ‘tort reformers’ continue to be the top high-court donors.”
Key findings of “Vote of No Confidence: The 2002 Texas Supreme Court Election” include:
- Of the 10 major-party candidates still in the running for five available Supreme Court seats, the GOP candidates out-raised ($2,198,130) their Democratic opponents ($783,754) 3:1. Judge Margaret Mirabal, who raised $315,332, was the only Democrat to out-raise a GOP opponent (Steve Smith raised $5,500).
- Justice Wallace Jefferson, the sole incumbent justice still raising money for November, is the top fundraiser, having raised $908,458 so far. Wallace raised five times as much money as his primary and general election opponents combined.
- An additional $1,720,363 was raised by four failed primary candidates, including incumbent Justice Xavier Rodriguez, who raised $708,048 but was defeated by Steve Smith’s frugal campaign.
- Eight of the top-10 law-firm donors1 were corporate defense firms and two were plaintiff firms. Vinson & Elkins again lead the pack, giving these judicial candidates a total of $124,305.
- Nine of the top-10 non-law donors represent business interests, led by the business tort group Texans for Lawsuit Reform ($55,056).
- In an unusual step, a Republican PAC made the top-10 list by picking sides in a GOP primary (giving $25,000 apiece to the campaigns of incumbent Justices Xavier Rodriguez and Wallace Jefferson).