Study examines who's donating to race for governor
BY ELISE HU / KVUE News
September 26, 2006
In world of politics, money matters.
"Money determines who runs for office [and] it determines what issues get talked about," said Craig McDonald, executive director of Texans for Public Justice.
KVUE's Elise Hu reports
The watchdog group just released a study on the race for the governor's office, and from January 2003 until June of this year, the four candidates have brought in about $42 million in combined contributions.
Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry leads the pack; he's raised more than $24 million this election cycle.
"It puts him ahead of even George W. Bush, Bush was in his second run for the Governor's office," McDonald said.
Perry's trailed by Carole Keeton Strayhorn in contributions, she's raised $13 million. Behind her is Independent candidate Kinky Friedman, who's raised $3.4 million and Democrat Chris Bell who had raised $2 million by June.
Bell's new Finance Director Fred Ellis says Bell's financial stash will get larger within the next few weeks.
"I can't speak for what happened before I came on but I do know people are getting on board and giving significant contributions now," added Ellis.
The study also found a big chunk of all the candidates' money comes from big money donors.
For example, Houston-based homebuilder Bob Perry (no relation to Rick Perry) has donated nearly $600,000 to the Governor's campaign. Campaign finance watchdogs say donations of that size point to a big problem.
"The checkbooks of a few special people are drowning out the voices of the rest of us. Big money buys access, big money buys the priorities of the administration," said McDonald.
The campaigns say that's not the case.
"If donors or people who give money to the governor expect anything more than good, conservative government, they shouldn't give," said Robert Black, the Governor's spokesperson.
Whatever the expectations, the money keeps mounting.