Eddie Rodriguez scarfs three-fourths of all money raised
Total contributions to the six candidates running in today’s special election topped $1 million, according to The Austin Bulldog’s compilation of reports the candidates filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Today’s Election Day and those whose money was shoved into the political pot are going to find out if their bets paid off.
The two Democrats running, former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and State Representative Eddie Rodriguez, netted more than 97 percent of all funds raised.
But Rodriguez totally dominated. He out-raised Eckhardt by a margin of more than three to one. He’s finishing his ninth term representing House District 51 and was heavily backed by the lobby.
Eckhardt’s stutter-step entry into the field of candidates delayed her formal fundraising efforts. Things only got worse when she solicited and accepted more than $11,435 in contributions before filing a treasurer appointment with the Texas Ethics Commission.
The Austin Bulldog’s analysis of her campaign finance reports indicated that those funds were not returned to donors, something she told the Austin American-Statesman she would do when it reported her mistake.
Rodriguez was already far ahead of Eckhardt in fundraising through the July 6, 2020, campaign finance report. He reported adding another $30,000 to campaign coffers in daily reports. During that same period Eckhardt netted $7,663.
The four other candidates on today’s ballot were either not effective or did not try to raise funds:
• Republican Don Zimmerman, a former Austin City Council member, raised $15,792.
• Libertarian Pat Dixon accepted $10,762.
• Republican Waller T. Burns II and Independent Jeff Ridgeway accepted no money.
Today’s competition will determine who succeeds State Senator Kirk Watson, who resigned his seat to take a job in academia. The winner will serve out the remainder of his term through 2022.
Senate District 14 has been solid blue since Lloyd Doggett won it way back in 1973. If money has any bearing on this election that isn’t going to change today.
Readers interested in a complete analysis of fundraising and spending for all six candidates will want to examine our Campaign Finance Chart for State Senate District 14.
Links to related Bulldog coverage:
Background Investigation: Sarah Eckhardt, July 7, 2020
Background Investigation: Eddie Rodriguez, July 8, 2020
Links to related material:
Ken Martin has been covering local government, elections, and politics since 1981. See more about Ken on the About page.