Campaign finance reports reveal big spenders in Victoria races

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 6, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.
Updated May 7, 2013 at 12:07 a.m.

The latest campaign finance reports show Victoria is voting at the ballots and the bank.

From January through the end of April, the 13 candidates have collected about 50 high-dollar donations exceeding $500, according to campaign finance reports filed with the city secretary.

Former Victoria mayor and former councilman Gary Middleton donated more money to more races than any other person this election.

He owns the billboard company Middleton Outdoor Advertising and has offered up $9,771 worth of ad space around town to candidates, according to the financial reports.

He made his pick for the four races: Councilman Paul Polasek for mayor, Jeff Bauknight for District 3, Andrew Young for Super District 5 and Tom Halepaska for Super District 6.

"Having had almost 11 and a half years of experience on the council personally, I'm supporting candidates that I think would be good for Victoria and who are going to lead this city in a positive direction," Middleton said. "I've met and talked with each and every one of them, and I think they would make a good council member."

While Middleton donated the largest in-kind amount, Lisa Wilkinson put her support behind Omar Rachid for mayor with a $2,000 check March 13, according to the financial reports.

Robert Hewitt Jr. put $1,500 in the races: $1,000 to re-elect Will Armstrong as mayor and $500 to re-elect Halepaska.

Not all contributors have political history.

Elaine Thurman is putting her support behind Russell Pruitt for Super District 6.

She and her husband, Jan, signed a $1,000 check to Pruitt on April 1, according to the campaign finance report.

"We're not political activists," Thurman said. "We're interested in good government and good leaders."

Pruitt is running against the incumbent Halepaska.

Thurman said Pruitt did not approach her household for a contribution.

"We just think a lot of him, and we wanted to help him," she said. "We've known him, and we know what a wonderful man he is."

Louise Hull Patillo and her husband, Dennis, could say the same about their contribution.

They wrote a $1,000 check to Young on March 23, according to Young's financial records.

Young is running against incumbent Joe Truman and former councilman Gabriel Soliz.

Hull Patillo said this is not the first time they have supported a candidate.

"We've been political activists in one form or fashion at all levels all our lives," she said.

She added that her household does not have a "standard" contribution.

"Because of him (Young) being a new candidate, we felt he was going to need the resources to get his name out," she said. "We believed in him enough to give him that contribution."

With so many seats open, Hull Patillo said this is an important election to the city.

She said Young would bring a new perspective and a history of strong decision making to the council.

"We're honored to have someone of Andrew's caliber willing to give his time and talent to our city, and we wanted to help him in any way possible," she said. "I think he's committed to our city."



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