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Victoria County election contributions reach $183,000 mark

By Melissa Crowe
Feb. 25, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.


TOP-DOLLAR DONORS

$500-$999

Frederick F. Lykes, of Victoria; S.F. Ruschhaupt III, of Victoria; Jon R. New, of Victoria; P.N. Investments, of Victoria; Dennis Patillo, of Victoria; McKay and Coffey, of Victoria; Ben Keating, of Port Lavaca; Donald Truman, of Victoria; Ron Dickson, of Victoria; Melanie H. Phipps, of San Antonio; John and Judy Clegg, of Victoria; Christina N. Donoghue, of Victoria; Dr. Leonard and Penni Geitz, of Victoria; G.F. White, of Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Elton Calhoun, of Victoria; David Engel, of Victoria; Clayton D. Johnson, of Victoria; Jeanie Bauer, of Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wu, of Port Lavaca; Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Chapman, of Austin; Dennis O'Connor Hewitt, of Victoria

• $1,000-$4,999

Bette-Jo Buhler, of Victoria; Byron Burris II, of Victoria; Clayton D. Johnson, of Victoria; Dr. and Mrs. H. Ellwood Ernst, of Victoria; Kevin Chapman, of Austin; Barry and Tammy Hartman, of Victoria; Lee Swearingen, of Victoria; Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, of Austin; Exelon PAC, of Chicago; Clifton L. Thomas Jr., of Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Walker, of Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Lack, of Victoria; Billy F. Janssen, of Victoria; V.N. Reaser Jr., of Victoria; Sean Casey, of Victoria; Texas Association of Realtors PAC, of Austin; Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Cullen, of Victoria; Lisa Simnacher, of Bay City

$5,000 or more

Robert Hewitt Jr., of Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Heilker, of Victoria; Robert Hewitt Jr.; Heber S. Lacerda, of Victoria; Daniel Pedone, of Victoria; Robert Briggs, of Victoria; Jim L. West, of Victoria; Thomas R. and Tami A. Burdge, of Victoria

$500-$999

Wendell Geigle, of Victoria; Kevin and Imelda Sheeran, of Victoria; Dr. Steve Hotze, of Katy; Joshua and Sara Zeller, of Victoria; Earl and Karen Zeller, of Conroe; Marc and Becky Young, of Sealy; Kevin and Imelda Sheeran, of Victoria

• $1,000-$4,999

Ajay Gaala, of Victoria; Steve Orr, of Victoria; Al and Michelle Roden, of Victoria; Aaron Zeller, of Austin; Ty and Lynette Zeller, of Hallettsville

$500-$999

Kurt Werner, of Helena, Mont.

• $1,000

Steven Carrigan, of Houston

$500-$999

Vernon and Gail Reasor, of Victoria; Quin Burris, of Victoria; John Pierce Sr., of Victoria; Dennis O'Connor Hewitt, of Victoria; Byron Burris II, of Victoria; Mike Best, of Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Bennie Enis, of Victoria; Brent Dornburg, of Victoria

$1,000-$4,999

Dr. Fred Lykes, of Victoria; William Denton, of Corpus Christi; Travis H. Ernst; Carl and Laura Bedgood, of Victoria; McKay and Coffey, of Victoria; Charles Benton, of Houston; Mr. and Mrs. Ben Heilker, of Victoria; Carol and Jim West, of Victoria; Lewis and Pierce, of Victoria

$500-$999

Thomas M. O'Connor, of Victoria; Diedre K. Gunkel, of Victoria

$500-$999

Texas Association of Realtors PAC, of Austin; Carlos Chinea, of Victoria; David and Kathleen Edwards, of Sinton

$1,000-$4,999

Madeline Haenggi, of Victoria; two anonymous donors

$5,000

Barbara K. Welder, of Victoria

Source: Campaign Finance Reports

DONATIONS AND EXPENSES

Don Pozzi for Republican county judge

• $21,647 in expenses

• $96,280 in contributions

Ben Zeller for Republican county judge

• $18,096 in expenses

• $19,060 in contributions

Travis Ernst for Republican county Court-at-Law judge No. 1

• $19,401 in expenses

• $36,149 in contributions

Leslie A. Werner for Republican county Court-at-Law Judge No. 1

• $6,727 in expenses

• $3,835 in contributions

Sean Kennedy for Republican county treasurer

• $3,125 in expenses

• $3,415 in contributions

Lisa Hernandez for Republican county treasurer

• $20,453 in expenses

• $21,833 in contributions

Source: Campaign Finance Reports

Less than a week before the March 4 primary election, Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi has out-fundraised his opponent, Ben Zeller, and every other candidate for county office.

In the last round of finance reports due before the primary, the three-term incumbent showed donations of $96,280 throughout his campaign for re-election, while Zeller brought in $19,060.

The 29-year-old Zeller said he is making up the difference with volunteers and shoe-leather campaigning.

"There haven't been any surprises in the fundraising results," Zeller said. "We're running a grassroots campaign; we have more volunteers, and we're working harder and smarter. This isn't about who can spend the most money; it's about who Republican voters trust."

Zeller is partially self-funding his campaign with a $15,000 personal loan. He said that is enough to get his message to the voters.

His opponent does not have any outstanding loans.

Pozzi said his donors prove a record of trust.

"I have a wonderful variety of donors and contributors, various professionals and laborers - it covers the full spectrum - and certainly, I think it shows what those people think of the job that we have been able to accomplish over the past 12 years," Pozzi said.

Whichever candidate wins the primary will go on to represent the Republican Party in the Nov. 4 general election. Ron Reyna is the only Democratic candidate in the primary.

Zeller has tapped into social media to expand his campaign, even including online donations in his fundraising efforts.

He said his campaign has raised more than any opponent Pozzi has faced.

"People see this as a viable campaign," Zeller said. "We're poised to win, and I think people are eager to jump on board."

Throughout the campaign, Zeller has called for a lower tax rate by way of implementing the effective tax rate, which maintains the same tax revenue as the previous year.

In public forums, Zeller spoke about new vision and new leadership.

"At the end of the day, it will be determined by the issues and who Republican voters trust," Zeller said.

Pozzi said his campaign is about experience, leadership, honesty, integrity, trust and his record of fiscal conservatism.

Pozzi has spent $21,647 so far on his campaign, according to the most recent round of finance reports.

He expects that number to triple during this last stretch before the primary.

"Campaigns, I have learned from past experience, are very, very expensive," Pozzi said.

Four years ago, he spent more than $100,000, he said.

"It's very difficult for me to talk about this without sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, and that's not what I'm doing," Pozzi said. "I simply think that it shows that I have a great deal of respect from a very large population."

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