Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is scheduled to be the special guest at a fundraiser next week for State Senator Frank Madla - a San Antonio Democrat who faces a primary challenge from a Texas House member who's had key leadership posts since the GOP took control of the lower chamber in 2003.
The Madla fundraiser, which is set for Tuesday evening at the Austin Club, is being sponsored by about five dozen lobbyists and professional organizations that represent a wide cross-section of business, legal and other interests with stakes in the legislative process in Texas. The who's who of lobbyists on the fundraiser's host committee includes 11 former state legislators from both sides of the political aisle.
Two former top aides to Governor Rick Perry - Mike Toomey and Patricia Shipton - are also listed on the host committee. Toomey, a former Texas House member, was the Republican governor's chief of staff for two years until returning to the lobby in late 2004. Shipton served as legislative director on Perry's staff. The list of sponsors on the fundraiser's invitation include the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, HillCo Partners and Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
The event is designed to help Madla stave off a Democratic primary challenge from State Rep. Carlos Uresti of San Antonio in the veteran senator's bid for re-election to the seat he's held for the past 13 years. Uresti - a member of the House for the past nine years - has been raising money and expects to be on a level playing field with the Senate incumbent before they square off in the March 7 primary election. Madla, however, has the advantage of the so-called "friendly incumbent" rule that lobbyists tend to follow when sitting members are challenged in re-election campaigns.