The benefactor is West Texas businessman and perennial conservative megadonor, Tim Dunn.
Luther rocketed to celebrity in late-April and early May when she reopened her salon in defiance of state and local closure orders, for which she was sentenced to seven days in jail by a Dallas judge.
She announced her candidacy after incumbent Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) won the GOP nomination for Texas’ 4th Congressional District. State Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) is another prominent candidate in the field of six candidates, and the election will be held on September 29.
A native of Big Spring, Dunn is the son of a farmer and graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in chemical engineering.
In 1996 Dunn co-founded what would become CrownQuest Operating, an oil and gas exploration company headquartered in Midland.
In addition to contributing to conservative candidates, Dunn serves as the vice-chairman of the Texas Public Policy Foundation — one of the country’s largest state-level conservative think tanks — where he helped found the Right on Crime project which advocates for criminal justice reform.
He also financially backs Empower Texans, the biggest conservative grassroots advocacy organization in the state.
Other organizations he’s involved with include Ballotpedia, Transparency Texas, Citizens for Self-Governance, the Israel Allies Foundation, and Midland Bible Church.
Read Dunn’s full statement below, which was provided to The Texan and local newspapers:
Texas has emerged as a global leader thanks to a legacy of self-governance and devotion to individual liberty. These are character traits that thrive in an environment with a level playing field, both in business and politics. Disappointingly, this year government officials have violated these principles, pronouncing businesses and jobs “essential” and “non-essential” by proclamation.
Government officials told Shelley Luther her hair salon was non-essential. That she and the women who worked for her were “non-essential.” Her hairstylists take hundreds of hours of training, much of which is devoted to sanitation and cleanliness. But they were not invited to employ their creativity to solve a problem. They were just told, “Your job doesn’t matter.” The dog groomers next door were “essential”; they were not.
You likely remember her story. I recently sat with her and heard it first-hand. She read the regulations and saw she had the right to open. So she created a state of the art distancing and cleanliness protocol and opened her salon. A licensing bureaucrat told her not to, but could not cite a legal rationale – only threats. Democrat county officials leaned on her, as did the Republican governor’s office. It was her against a bi-partisan government assault on these ladies’ livelihoods and liberties.
She refused to back down, and they put her in jail. The administrator saw her and said, “What is she doing here, we are only supposed to have felons.” They put her in their worst facility to teach her a lesson. Shelley was punished for refusing to bow her knee and repent for demanding government follow the law, and be “of the People, by the People, and for the People.”
Shelley typically voted in Presidential elections and felt that was being a good citizen. But she learned more involvement was essential to preserve liberty.
I asked why she took a stance that risked jail. She answered, “Because of the hundreds of letters I received.” People found hope in seeing her take a stand against tyranny and for liberty. That’s why she stood, and why she’s now running for State Senate.
The Austin Swamp has tilted the playing field to negate Shelley’s grassroots advantage. The special election timeline was rushed faster than any non-legislative session in memory. The lobby class seems clearly to be angling to elect their handpicked candidate.
Because the Austin Swamp attempted to fix the game, I decided to loan Shelley Luther’s campaign $1,000,000. This gives her enormous grassroots support base ample time to support her campaign. The Swamp’s candidate has a bank account brimming with lobby dollars. As noted by Transparency Texas, Drew Springer’s money comes almost exclusively from Austin lobbyists and access-buyers.
The forces who would jail a single mom for the “crime” of safely operating a business would think nothing of doing the same thing to you or me. I believe in the American People. I believe in Texans. We all have flaws, so all need accountability. The Austin Swamp needs substantially more accountability. My hope is that Shelley Luther will be elected to truly represent the people of her district, remain accountable to them, and never become beholden to the Austin Swamp. That would represent a critical step toward liberty.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.