January 24, 2020

Patrick Hints of Ballot Box Thievery in Special OT Fight
Amid Flood of National Democrat Money as Vote Nears

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Texas House Special
Elections Runoff Cash

Donations & Loans
Cash on Hand

Eliz Markowitz (D)
House District 28
Final Week: $139,018
8-Day Report: $109,131
Total Donations: $727,560
Campaign Loans: $0
Jan 18 Cash: $82,130
Gary Gates (R)
House District 28
Final Week: $2,000
8-Day Report: $50,519
Total Donations: $76,190
Campaign Loans: $1,526,100
Jan 18 Cash: $15,822
Anna Eastman (D)
House District 148
8-Day Report: $16,682
Total Donations: $199,463
Campaign Loans: $0
Dec 31 Cash: $10,032
Luis La Rotta (R)
House District 100
Jan 15 Report: $20,020
Total Donations: $43,632
Campaign Loans: $0
Dec 31 Cash: $12,663
Lorraine Birabil (D)
House District 100
8-Day Report: $11,347
Total Donations: $147,985
Campaign Loans: $0
Dec 31 Cash: $18,598
James Armstrong (D)
House District 100
Jan 15 Report: $11,020
Total Donations: $35,335
Campaign Loans: $6,000
Dec 31 Cash: $13,250

Source: Texas
Ethics Commission







Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick raised the specter of voter fraud on Friday in a critical special Texas House runoff while a group that's based in Washington revealed that it's pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the fight on behalf of Democratic contender Eliz Markowitz.

Patrick issued the warning on potential electoral piracy when he threw his support behind GOP candidate Gary Gates as the special House District 28 race roared into the final stretch before Tuesday's overtime vote.

But the conservative Texas Senate president didn't offer any evidence to back up the insinuation that included a slap at Beto O'Rourke - the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Texas in 2018.

“This is an important special election for a House Seat the Republicans need to hold," Patrick declared. "Gary Gates will be a strong conservative voice for in that district and I ask all Republicans in House District 28 to get out and vote. Don’t let Beto and the socialist Democrats steal this seat.”

Gates has received a belated boost in OT from GOP leaders who hadn't been fans in the past like Governor Greg Abbott and Patrick in a quest for the House in a district where he's had a massive campaign cash advantage after loaning his campaign more than $1.5 million.

Markowtiz in contrast has depended on contributors from inside and outside the state while raising almost $867,000 for the special HD 28 battle in a debut campaign that reaped an additional $139,000 in the past two days. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee that's based in the nation's capital pumped $125,000 into the Markowitz bid this week when the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee contributed almost $12,000 more to her for the closing days of the fight.

The organization Forward Majority Action announced today that it has earmarked more than $400,000 on voter contact and communications efforts for the Markowitz campaign in an attempt to mitigate the infusion of personal wealth on which her GOP opponent has relied.

Forward Majoriy consultant Josh Levitt said that a Markowtiz victory next week would be a "thunderclap upset" in a district where the Democratic nominees have never reached the 46 percent mark in terms of the share of the vote that they've garnered there.

But Levitt contended that at least 10 Texas House districts where the GOP will be on the defensive this fall are more vulnerable for Democratic takeovers in 2020 than HD 28 where Markowitz and Gates appear destined to square off again in the November general election.

"Texas 28 is a tough district, but its trend toward Democrats is clear and it is exactly the type of district where Democrats need to compete to win majorities," Levitt asserted. "Republicans continue to significantly outspend, but that costly defense illustrates just how vulnerable they are.

"While this isn’t an easy race, it’s a race where we believe there is no excuse for Democrats not to be aggressively competing given the stakes and Texas’ strategic importance," Levitt added.

The Foward Majority Action PAC rounded up more than $534,000 from donors across the country in a 16-day span in January when it funnelled $175,000 into a separate committee that it's opened in Texas. The DLCC had donated almost $10,000 to Markowitz before the six-figure infusion this week.

Markowitz, an education consultant in the Houston suburb of Katy, seized the lead in the national bellwether battle when she received 39 percent of the vote in the special HD 28 election in November as the lone Democrat in the race. Gates advanced to the runoff with a runner-up finish in round one with almost 29 percent of the vote in a field that included a half-dozen Republicans.

Gates has been fighting to overcome the Democrats' focus on a legal battle that the GOP runoff contender waged with the state after child protective services workers removed some foster children from his home based on allegations that they'd made against him. The Democrats, however, are declining to point out that the foster kids in question were eventually returned to the Rosenberg business owner's home.

"Republicans have nominated a perennial candidate who has run for office and lost six times due to disturbing child abuse allegations his own children made against him," Levitt said today in a resurrection of claims that Forward Majority Action had aired in a recent television advertisement in HD 28.


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