Like I’ve said before, the best way to reduce the power of the three “big” pay to play slates in Harris County is having a slew of other slates to water down their influence. I’m not sure this is what I had in mind but let’s give a hearty welcome to the newest pay to play slate in Harris County, the Harris County GOP PAC! Welcome boys!
Obviously nothing much happens in Harris County politics without a lot of backroom deals between established players. I haven’t had time to thoroughly review the players in this one but here is the roster as I know it now:
- Treasurer: David Clark – note, I didn’t find a “Change of Treasurer” notice for the group. As of last summer, the treasurer was Charles Seymore (see the change notice). Prior to Mr. Seymore, the Treasurer for years was Jason Miller.
- Consultant: Marc Cowart – former Harris County Republican Party Assistant Executive Director, now works for Gary Polland and the Texas Conservative Review. The PAC paid Cowart $3,000 on 12/20/13.
So that’s about it for the players as I know them now. The PAC was dormant for years until a transfer from Vote Smart Houston PAC of $16,922.50 was made on 12/19/13. That money had sat in the Vote Smart Houston PAC since January 2004.
But they really ramped up on 1/21/14 with contributions from three statewide candidates:
- David Dewhurst – $23,864.72
- Glenn Hegar,- $23,864.72
- Dan Branch – $23,865.00
And on the same day, they paid Right on the Money $31,712.20 for printing and mailing. Presumably a slate type ballot or something similar but I haven’t seen a copy – if you have one, please let me know!
Glancing through past expenditure reports from Harris County GOP PAC, they paid Allen Blakemore for some work (of course). I saw a $5,000 contribution from Jim Murphy way back when.
But mostly it looks like Dewhurst, Hegar, and Branch grew tired of the current pay to play slates not taking their money so they started their own publication using a dormant PAC.
Which isn’t bad but I could have helped them if they had only called! They are underwriting Woodfill and Mark Lanier’s attempt to take over the Supreme Court and in Woodfill’s case, underwriting his campaign. Remember, Woodfill came out for Sen. Dan Patrick before he even gave Dewhurst a chance. I had heard that Dewhurst was upset about that but I’m not sure if helping your enemy is the right way to go about fixing the problem.
I’ll have more later on this group. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to add them to the Endorsement Matrix, I need to think about that one. I do have all of their “endorsements” thanks to an email. I’m told they do have a committee of sorts and that Polland isn’t involved, just Marc. Lots to think about but my thoughts right now are that any help in leveling the playing field and reducing the influence of the “big” three on HCRP primaries is probably a good thing.