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Will Conley and Ruben Becerra are competeing in the race for Hays County judge.

Judge’s race draws donors from all over

Campaign Finance Reports
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Editor’s Note: This is the final article in a series examining the campaign donations received by local candidates in the Nov. 6 election. In looking at the 30-day campaign finance reports filed by candidates for San Marcos city offices and for Hays County judge, the Daily Record is highlighting the sources of candidates’ largest donations, donations from special interests and/or PACs, and donations that come from outside San Marcos.

In the race for Hays County judge, Democratic candidate Ruben Becerra has a campaign fund balance of $23,532.63, the bulk of which was raised between July 16 and Oct. 9 and is recorded on his 30-day campaign finance report. Republican candidate Will Conley has a six-figure war chest, with a balance of $150,742, about half of which was raised during the period covered in his 30-day report.

Becerra raised $18,004.30 between July 16 and Oct. 9 of this year (the 30-day report was due on Oct. 9, but Becerra’s was filed several days late). His largest contributions came from the Hays County Democratic Party Executive Committee, which donated $2,000; Monica Becerra, who donated $500; and Frank Fuentes of Austin, who also gave $500. Fuentes is chair of the U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association of Austin. Author Nerissa Oden from Wimberley donated $381. Contributions of $350 came in from Jose Becerra of Brownsville, Richard Mendez of Houston, Paul Parrish of College Station, Hays County resident Tiffany Hernandez, Richard Mendez of San Antonio, Christina Burguete of San Antonio and Hays County resident Mariah Ferrar.

Becerra received several smaller contributions from donors with addresses outside of Hays County, including $250 from developer John David Carson, who lists an Austin address, and Devonet Clarkson of San Antonio, director of Specialized Medical Solutions, who donated $400 (one donation of $300 and one of $100). Smaller donations came in from two Georgetown residents, two San Antonio residents, six Austin residents, and individuals giving addresses in Tomball, Kerrville, Guadalupe County, and Norman, Oklahoma.

With the exception of the Hays County Democratic Party Executive Committee, all of Becerra’s donors are individuals rather than organizations.

Conley’s fundraising efforts between July 1 and Sept. 27 garnered $76,816.38. Seven of Conley’s eight largest donations came from outside of Hays County, the largest being $10,000 from John R. Weisman, head of Hunter Industries, who gives a New Braunfels address. Peter Way of Houston, who is listed as president of Way Engineering and Wimberley Park Holdings, donated $5,000, as did a Wallace Williams from Houston. Austin law firm Goggan Linebarger Blair and Sampson donated $3,000 to Conley’s campaign. Three donors with out-of-county addresses gave $2,500: realtor Amy Shields from Austin, developer Rick Sheldon from Waco, and Dannenbaum Engineering President James Dannenbaum from Houston. Kyle resident Bill Johnson also gave $2,500 to Conley’s campaign.

A handful of other four-digit donations came from Hays County residents: Michael Davis of San Marcos gave $1,020, and $1,000 donations came in from Donald and Jill Wood from Wimberley and Kirby Baird, president of the Austin division of Spawglass Contractors, who lists a Dripping Springs address.

Still other four-digit donations came from outside Hays County. LAN-PAC, the political action committee for Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam Inc., a civil engineering firm based in Houston but with an office in San Marcos, donated $2,000 to Conley’s campaign. David Rowley, who lives in the portion of San Marcos that lies in Caldwell County, donated $1,000. Attorney Paul D. Chapa of Corpus Christi also gave $1,000. Bob Gregory of Texas Disposal Systems, William H. Yarnell Jr. from The Alaric Group and attorney Gilbert T. Bragg, all of whom list Austin addresses, donated $1,000 apiece. The Republican Party of Texas, which lists an address in Austin, donated $2,000 to Conley. Approximately 41 smaller campaign donations came from Austin residents.

Two smaller donations came from San Antonio, six from Round Rock, two from Cedar Park and three from Houston -- including $250 from the political action committee for engineering firm Costello Inc. Other small donations came in from donors with addresses in Leander, Fort Worth, Missouri City, Waxahachie, Spring Branch, Johnson City, Channelview, Maxwell, Canyon Lake, Pflugerville and Apollo Beach, Florida.

Besides those listed above, no other political action committees or other organizations donated to Conley’s campaign since July 1. Details on Conley and Becerra’s 2017 fundraising activities were unavailable due to an outage for the Hays County website for most of the day Friday. Previous reports for both Becerra and Conley should be available on the county's website.

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666