The Back MicThe Back Mic: 5 Largest Texas Governor Donations Listed, Abbott Doubles Down on School Choice, House GOP Censure Motions Fail

This week — Abbott and O’Rourke’s top five contributions are listed, the governor reiterates support for school choice legislation, and a censure of three lawmakers fails.
July 29, 2022
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5 Biggest Donations to Texas Governor Candidates

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’Rourke both posted massive fundraising hauls in their latest report, with O’Rourke edging out Abbott by a couple of million dollars.

Below are each candidate’s top five single contributions from the July semiannual filing and the donor behind them.

Abbott

  • $500,000 on April 7 – Edward Rosiki, Jr., President & Chairman of Majestic Realty Co. from City of Industry, CA
  • $500,000 on June 22 – James Pitcock, Jr., Contractor with Williams Bros. Construction from Houston
  • $450,000 on March 31 – Kenny Troutt, Executive with Mount Vernon Investments from Dallas
  • $300,000 on April 22 – William Harris, Owner of Colony Ridge Development from Huntsville
  • $300,000 on April 25 – Stuart Stedman, Executive at Stedman West Interests Inc. from Houston

O’Rourke

The Texan Tumbler

  • $1,000,000 on June 23 – George Soros, Owner of Soros Fund Management from New York, NY
  • $1,000,000 on March 4 – Tench Coxe, former Venture Capitalist at Sutter Hill Ventures from West Lake Hills
  • $1,000,000 on March 4 – Simone Coxe, former CEO of Blanc & Otus and Co-founder of CalMatters nonprofit news from West Lake Hills
  • $500,000 on June 28 – Our Texas PAC, run by Alan Metni, Founder of iFLY Indoor Skydiving, based in Greenwood, CO
  • $300,000 on June 30 – American Federation of Teachers PAC based in Washington, DC

Read more about the candidates’ fundraising here and an in-state versus out-of-state fundraising breakdown here.

Abbott Doubles Down on School Choice Push

Back in January, Gov. Greg Abbott intimated a forceful push for school choice legislation during the 2023 legislative session. At a campaign event this week, he doubled down on the idea.

“Parents should not be forced to send their child to a government-mandated school that teaches critical race theory, or is forcing their child to wear a face mask against their parents desire, or is forcing them to attend a school that isn’t safe,” he said at a campaign stop in Fort Stockton.

A day later, Abbott posed for a picture with school choice activist Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow with the American Federation for Children.

The issue is shaping up to be one of the biggest fights of the next legislative session, with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s full support behind school choice and House Speaker Dade Phelan’s reticence about the support within his body.

“It’s something we’ve had on the House floor on budget night, which was a test vote [for vouchers], and it’s been about 40-45 out of 150 members who would vote for that,” he told Chris Salcedo in an April radio interview. “So, the delta is pretty large on getting school choice across the finish line.”

But if the governor decides to spend a bulk of his political capital on the issue, more support within the lower chamber could materialize. While “vouchers” is often the term used in school choice policy discussions, Abbott’s preferred form of legislation has not yet been detailed.

Texas House GOP Caucus Censure Proposal Fails

Two weeks ago, The Texan broke the news about a recommendation from Texas House Republican Caucus leadership that three of its members be formally censured for supporting primary opponents of some of their colleagues.

State Reps. Jeff Cason (R-Bedford), Ben Leman (R-Anderson), and Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) faced censure if two-thirds of the body voted in favor of the motions.

Ultimately, each of those motions failed to reach that two-thirds threshold in an anonymous digital vote.

Toth told Texas Scorecard regarding the vote, “The Republican Caucus voted overwhelmingly against censure of members who shine a light on liberal members of the caucus.”

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Brad Johnson

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.