GOP lt. gov. candidates go from money race to ad battle


by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 7:24 PM

AUSTIN -- From the television to the internet, a bumper crop of political advertisements signifies the swift approach of the March 4 primary.

To pay for those ads, Republican candidates for lieutenant governor have been hard at work raising money. Campaign finance reports made public this week detail the donations and expenditures made by candidates and committees between July and December 2013.

"I'm running for reelection because we're at a crossroads," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-Texas) told KVUE after speaking at a forum hosted by the Texas Business Roundtable Monday in Austin.

The incumbent outraised all three primary opponents in the second half of 2013. Dewhurst brought in $2.3 million and spent nearly $2.9 million. He ended the year with $1.4 million cash on hand.

Dewhurst flexed his financial muscle this week with a new web video featuring a bearded hulk in a "TX" t-shirt, crediting the lieutenant governor with ensuring that "when it comes to job creation, Texas can lift more weight than any other state."

"We're going to have the funds we need. We're going to have the votes we need," radio host and state Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) told KVUE at Monday's forum.

Patrick raised nearly $1.7 million, spent $1.3 million and began 2014 with roughly $3.1 million on hand. A new million-dollar ad buy will promote Patrick's promise to secure the border and end sanctuary cities on cable news and over broadcast media.

"On border security, the politicians from both parties have let us down," claims the latest television ad from Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples (R-Texas), who announced a $1.7 million buy earlier this week.

"We're the campaign that's up today statewide on TV and radio," Staples said Monday.

Staples raised $1.1 million in the second half of 2013 and spent around $810,000. He ended the year with a balance of just over $3.1 million.

Many viewers may have also seen Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson's ad, praising his proud Texas mother on both radio and cable news.

"Win or lose, I want to be able to look back and say one thing: That I made my mom proud," Patterson says in the ad.

Raising just under $615,000, Patterson spent $1.5 million in the same period. He ended 2013 with about $564,000 on hand. Thanks to the ad, "We're poised to be in a runoff," Patterson said Monday. His next $850,000 cable and radio buy begins with a new ad focused on the role of Tejano heroes in Texas history.

The winner of the four-way Republican primary will likely face state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) in the November election. Since launching her campaign Nov. 23, Van de Putte raised more than $290,000 in just over a month to end the year with almost $252,000 on hand.

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