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Republican holds financial edge in Texas attorney general race

By David Yates | Aug 7, 2014

HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) – Heading into the finals months of the election cycle, Republican attorney general candidate Ken Paxton will have hundreds of thousands of dollars at his disposal.

While Paxton maintains nearly $386,000 cash on hand, his Democratic counterpart, attorney Sam Houston, has less than half that amount, $153,583.24, according to campaign finance reports filled with the Texas Ethics Commission.

From Jan. 1 to June 30, Houston raised more than $169,000, with a large portion of that amount supplied by his fellow trial lawyers, including a $5,000 donation from the asbestos law firm Provost Umphrey in Beaumont on April 30.

Houston’s firm - Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston - has supplied around $10,000 in total contributions, including monetary and in-kind.

Despite hefty donations from numerous Houston-area attorneys, Houston only raised a fraction of what Paxton was able to raise in just the past few months.

From May 18 to June 30, Paxton raised $882,386.78, campaign finance records show.

The Republican attorney general candidate also spent nearly $1.2 million in that timespan, as he was engaged in a runoff campaign with state Rep. Dan Branch.

Some of Paxton’s larger and more notable contributors include Cash Store owner Trevor Ahlberg ($25,000); the Austin firm Blackridge ($25,000); Dallas billionaire Darwin Deason ($10,000); University of Texas Board of Regents member Wallace Hall ($10,000); the Houston Police Officers Union PAC ($5,000); Texas theater chain owner Lee Mitchell ($25,000); the Ryan Texas PAC ($100,000); Dallas business investor Chart Westcott ($50,000); and billionaire Pastor Farris Wilks ($100,000).

To date, Paxton’s largest contribution ($1.2 million) came in the form of a loan, campaign finance records show.

Some of Houston’s more generous donations include:

-A $5,000 donation from the Houston law firm Andres & Kurth on June 18;

-A $1,000 donation from Castro for Congress (Joaquin Castro is a U.S. Congressman from San Antonio) on June 30;

-A $2,500 donation from San Antonio attorney Ricardo Cedillo (Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza) on June 19;

-A $1,000 donation from the Dale & Klein law firm in McAllen on June 13;

-A $6,873.02 donation from the Houston law firm Fibich Hampton Leebron on Feb. 11;

-A $2,500 donation from Dr. Clive Fields (a Bellaire physician) on June 24;

-A $1,000 donation from the Gartner Law Firm in Houston on June 24;

-A $3,000 donation from Houston attorney Daniel Goforth on June 27;

-A $1,050 donation from Victoria attorney John Griffin Jr. on May 27;

-A $10,000 donation from the Dallas law firm Griffith Nixon Davison on Feb. 26;

-A $1,000 donation form the Houston law firm Hicks Thomas;

-A $2,500 donation from the J. Michael Moore Law Firm in McAllen on June 12;

-A $1,000 donation from the Houston firm McDowell Wells on Feb. 11;

-A $1,500 and a $1,000 donation from Houston attorney John Padilla on June 24 and Feb. 11 respectively;

-A $2,500 donation from the Gallagher Law Firm in Houston on June 10;

-A $5,000 donation from Houston law firm Vinson & Elkins on June 16; and

-A $10,000 donation from Houston attorney Curt Webb (Beck Redden) on Feb. 12.

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.”

Reach David Yates at

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