HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) - With early voting already underway, Sam Houston, the lone Democrat running for Texas attorney general, will most likely face a Republican nominee with millions of dollars in his war chest.

However, that is not stopping plaintiffs attorneys from pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the Houston trial lawyer's campaign fund.

Going into the month of February, Houston had $153,678.62 cash on hand. From Oct. 17 to Dec. 31, he raised $184,595 in campaign contributions, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.

A large portion of Houston's campaign contributions were donated by trial lawyers, including several sizeable donations coming from Houston law firms specializing in civil litigation.

Most notably, Houston received $10,000 donations from the Houston law firms Mathews & Associates; Clark, Love & Hutson; The Ammons Law Firm; The Talaska Law Firm; and Arnold & Itkin, campaign finance reports show.

Other sizeable contributions include:

  • A $5,000 donation from the Houston firm Bailey Perrin Bailey;

  • A $5,000 donation made by Houston attorney Sam Cruz Jr.;

  • A $5,000 donation from the Perdue & Kidd law firm in Houston;

  • A $5,000 donation from the Dallas law firm Freese & Goss;

  • A $2,500 donation from plaintiff's attorney Denman Heard;

  • A $2,000 donation made by Farrar & Ball;

  • A $2,000 donation from the Galveston Law Offices of A. Craig Eiland;

  • A $2,500 donation from Houston personal injury lawyer Michael Phifer;

  • And a $3,000 donation from the Brown Law Firm.

In a past interview, Houston told Legal Newsline he believes the Texas Attorney General Office "ought to be about bringing in money and protecting consumer rights."

If an internal poll accurately predicts the Republican nominee, in the general election Houston will face off against state Rep. Dan Branch, who has more than $4 million cash on hand, according to a campaign finance report filed Feb. 3.

Last Friday, the Branch campaign received its first voter survey, showing he holds a first-place lead with 30 percent of those surveyed saying they would vote for him.

His rivals, Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman and state Sen. Ken Paxton, trail behind him with Paxton at 16 percent and Smitherman at 14 percent, according to the poll.

As of Jan. 23, Paxton has $1.8 million cash on hand, while Smitherman trails with only $101,887.03 in his war chest.

Houston is a partner at the Houston law firm Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston. His civil trial practice emphasizes on professional liability, real estate litigation and commercial litigation.

From Legal Newsline: Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com.

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