The Back MicThe Back Mic: Special Election Fundraising, Capitol Drama Around Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

In this week's Back Mic — a breakdown of three key State House special elections and Lt. Governor Patrick takes aim at a state agency.
November 1, 2019

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“The Back Mic” is a weekly look inside Texas politics and policy presented by The Texan. In just a few bullet points every Friday, you’ll know about the critical developments from the candidates, elected officials, and policies that impact Texans everywhere.

The Three Texas House Special Elections Set for Tuesday, November 5

Here’s a rundown of the candidates vying for these contentious House seats, in terms of their most recent cash on hand (COH) and fundraising numbers.

House District 28 — Vacated by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond)

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Zerwas won re-election with 54 percent of the vote in 2018. Here’s where the top 3 Republican candidates are:

Anna Allred 

  • Raised: $66k
  • Spent: $105k
  • COH: $23k

Gary Gates

  • Raised: $500.00 (loaned himself $445k)
  • Spent: $555k 
  • COH: $28k

Tricia Krenek

  • Raised: 55k (loaned herself $60k)
  • Spent: $205k 
  • COH: $10k

Other candidates include Sarah Laningham, Clinton Purnell, and Gary Hale.

The lone Democrat candidate has significantly outraised her competitors:

Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz 

  • Raised: $294k
  • Spent: $190k
  • COH: $167k

House District 100 — Vacated by Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas)

Only Democrats have filed to fill the void left by the newly-elected Dallas mayor, who faced no opponent in the 2018 general election. Here are the candidates:

Lorraine Birabil 

  • Raised: $40k
  • Spent: $42k
  • COH: $22k

James Armstrong III, a prominent candidate endorsed by the Dallas Morning News, has yet to release his latest financial report. He reported raising $15k and having $2k COH on his October 7 report.

Other candidates include Daniel Davis Clayton, Sandra Crenshaw, and Paul Stafford.

House District 148 — Vacated by Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston)

In 2018, Farrar won her re-election bid against a Republican opponent with 68 percent of the vote. Here are the 12 Democrats running to fill her seat:

Rob Block 

  • Raised: $3k
  • Spent: $24k
  • COH: $9k

Anna Eastman 

  • Raised: $57k
  • Spent: $60k
  • COH: $15k

Michele Leal 

  • Raised: $46k
  • Spent: $120k 
  • COH: $23k

Alva Trevino 

  • Raised: $500.00 (loaned herself $25k)
  • Spent: $10k 
  • COH: $21k

Chris Watt

  • Raised: $34k
  • Spent: $54k
  • COH: $7k

Kendra Yarbrough Camarena 

  • Raised: $65k (unitemized loan for $10k)
  • Spent: $28k 
  • COH: $8k

Other candidates include Carol Denson, Adrian Garcia, Terah Isaacson, Mia Mundy, Anna Núñez, and Penny “Morales” Shaw.

Two Republicans are also running for the seat, Luis La Rotta and Ryan McConnico, as well as one independent candidate, Chris Carmona, making for 15 candidates total.

For a rundown of the proposed constitutional amendments on the November 5 ballot, click here.

Dan Patrick Spars with State Agency

Lt. Governor Patrick set his sights on the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) this week. Here’s a rundown of the saga:

  • The Texas Tribune reported that the agency’s 5-person leadership board would soon boast 4 empty positions.
  • Patrick responded to the Tribune’s article, entitled “Capitol Insiders: Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is letting the state’s budget agency fall apart” with this statement: “This is absolutely right! As co-chair of the LBB, I have worked to eliminate the influence of the liberal bureaucrats who were running the LBB when I got there so we can move forward protecting taxpayer dollars and doing what the people of Texas elected us to do. There are many fine people working at the LBB who have done a good job in the interim, but the liberal leadership has attempted to block reform at every turn. Former [Speaker Joe Straus] was no help, but I am confident we will find a new director who shares my commitment, and the commitment of the majority of Texans, for a lean and efficient state budget.”
  • Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a tweet: “If Patrick truly believes LBB allowed politics to influence their numbers, then he needs to give specifics. Otherwise, this is just Trump 2.0 with no basis in fact.
  • The LBB “develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations, completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation, and conducts evaluations and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations.”


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor at The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.