1. Texas Association of REALTORS PAC ($35,867,910): The Realtors are the powerhouse of money in Texas politics. Yes, you might be surprised to find that your realtor’s professional dues support one of the most powerful — and certainly the most well-funded — PACs in Texas. What might be even more surprising is that the Texas Association of Realtors PAC (TREPAC) frequently uses its political heft to support liberal Republicans and the occasional Democrat. Apparently, this cycle, they believed their PAC account was too flush with cash, as they purchased more than $29 million of money market instrument mutual funds at Frost Bank. As for TREPAC’s donations directly to candidates, they appear to be motivated primarily by the desire to curry favor with those in power in Austin. They supported incumbents of every stripe in 2018, from the most conservative Republicans ($101,042 to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and $60,000 to State Sen. Don Huffines) to liberal Republicans and Democrats ($55,000 to State Rep. Charlie Geren and $50,000 to State Sen. John Whitmire). During the all-important and ideologically-revealing primary season, the Realtors tended to support the more moderate to liberal candidate in each race, including State Reps. Jason Villalba and Wayne Faircloth and State Sen. Kel Seliger this election season. TREPAC’s largest donation to a candidate this cycle was $140,000 to Cody Harris, a realtor himself, who won one of the most watched elections of the primary season to take the seat of retiring State Rep. Byron Cook. With more than $29 million in the bank, $6.7 million dollars cash-on-hand in their PAC account, and the proven willingness to spend it, the Realtors will be a formidable force in Texas politics for the foreseeable future.
House of Representatives (D)
$330,655Cash on Hand
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|$26,375.00||House Democratic Campaign Committee|
|$10,239.85||Texas Association of REALTORS Political Action Committee|
|$10,000.00||Kay L Van Wey|
|$10,000.00||Lee & Amy Fikes|
|$10,000.00||Texas House Democrats Incumbent Fund PAC|
|$7,529.58||Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee|
|$7,500.00||The Beer Alliance of Texas Political Action Committee|
|$6,971.95||George A Quesada Jr|
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Top Personal Donations
From reports filed by the recipients of these funds, it appears these transactions originated from personal rather than campaign accounts.
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Neave, first elected to the Texas House in 2016, flipped the seat to the Democrat column after defeating then-incumbent Ken Sheets (R). She was off to an auspicious beginning, earning the distinction “Freshman of the Year” by the Texas House Democratic Caucus and “Elected Official of the Year” by the Texas Democratic Women. In December, 2017, however, Neave had an embarrassing and disturbing run-in with the Dallas Police Department after she crashed her BMW into a tree and was found with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit.
Rinaldi, who has held the seat for two terms, is a founding member of the Texas Freedom Caucus, whose stated goal is to support “liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.” According to a non-partisan study by Dr. Mark Jones of Rice University, Rinaldi is tied with two others as the most conservative member of the Texas House.