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Eight days out finance reports, Parker and Locke

Among other things, Friday was the eight days out campaign finance reporting deadline for the city runoffs. The Chron reports on the Mayoral candidates.

Both sides aggressively asked for volunteers and donors before the Wednesday deadline. Election rules allowed Parker and Locke to go back to donors who gave the $5,000 maximum in the general election for another round, and both did, according to their reports.


Locke went back to many of the same donors that have fueled his candidacy from the outset, including a who’s who of Houston’s political and business elite. Major donors included former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, METRO Chairman David Wolff, restaurant magnate Tilman Fertitta, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and ex-Kemah Mayor Bill King.

Employees and the political action committee of the law firm Andrews Kurth, where Locke is a senior partner, donated more than $45,000 to his runoff campaign, and three METRO board members contributed $10,200. Locke had a total of about 800 donors.

Numerous supporters of City Councilman Peter Brown, who endorsed Parker shortly after placing third behind her and Locke on election day, contributed the maximum to the controller.

Her fundraising strength came from more than 3,000 donors, including Continental Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek, philanthropost Nancy Kinder, the Annie’s List political action committee and the Service Employees International Union.

Several major law firms gave the maximum or close to both candidates, a sign they believed the race was too close to call and wanted to hedge their bets, analysts said.

The reports were available as of late Friday evening. Parker’s was 990 pages long, thanks to a huge number of donors, and Locke’s was 312, so my hat is off to Olson for wading through the contributor lists. I didn’t have the fortitude for that, so I concentrated on how they spent their money. I have updated my campaign finance report spreadsheet to include a new tab for the runoff, and this time I tracked loans and various expenditure types on it. Here’s the basic summary for each, followed by how the money was spent:

Candidate Raised Spent Loans Cash ================================================= Parker 1,580,014 1,228,648 30,000 358,449 Locke 1,185,096 1,282,385 0 350,735 Candidate TV Radio Mail Polling Phone Field ================================================================== Parker 692,053 2,855 189,648 36,488 10,000 91,919 Locke 423,709 14,492 121,297 72,068 18,451 223,268

Speaking generally, since I’ll be doing this for all of the runoff campaigns, “TV” includes anything listed as “Media”, which usually indicates a purchase made through a consulting firm. Both it and “Radio” include any listed costs of production. “Mail” does not include separate listings for postage or printing, as I did not assume they necessarily went to a direct mail piece; if they went through a consulting firm, all that is rolled up into the final cost anyway. It does include any expense listed for the Harris County GOP or the Texas Conservative Review, as what’s being bought in those cases is an ad in a mailer they send out. “Polling” is my best guess as to what was paid to a polling firm; it also includes anything that looks like opposition research, since that often gets used in polls. “Phone” is for phonebanking and/or robocalling; it does not include anything that’s obviously landline or cell costs for the campaign. “Field” is very nebulous. Some candidates – Locke and MJ Khan in particular – have extensive field campaigns that includes a lot of paid canvassers. Locke had dozens and dozens of entries for “Field/Payroll” or the like. I did not include those in these tabulations, I just added up the consulting, management, and associated costs like rent and printed materials where it seemed appropriate.

Not all of these expenses are relevant to the runoff. These reports cover the period starting October 26, so a lot of November election expenses can be and are included here. All of Locke’s phone expenses, half of his mail, and one of the three polls he listed were dated November 3 or earlier. Parker had some pre-Election Day expenses listed as well, but it was more noticeable for Locke.

There were other types of expenses as well, which I didn’t list here. That includes things like print and web advertising – Locke had some of each, mostly in community newspapers and on Facebook – and campaign signs; again, Locke had those listed, Parker did not. Most other campaigns did not list any expenditures on signs – in general, all that was done before the November election – but as you might have noticed, a bunch of Locke signs have appeared on overpasses and other public rights-of-way, so there was new spending on that. About $44,000 worth on signs, in fact, plus another $48,000 or so on flyers and other printed campaign materials, which I did not include in the Field total.

Anyway, there you have it. I believe the next finance reporting deadline is January 15, so if you want to know how Parker and Locke (and the rest) spent their remaining cash, you’ll have to wait till then. Erik Vidor has more.

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  1. Baby Snooks says:

    I will say everyone is certainly spending the money on mailers – I would like to know where everyone got my name and address since supposedly I “opted-out” with regard to my voter registration and have a listed number without an address under an assumed name. And yet there the mailers are. From everyone I had already voted against.

  2. […] seen the eight days out finance reports for the Mayor’s race, now here’s the same thing for the Controller’s race. As before, the campaign finance […]