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Travis Pct. 3 Commissioners race brings early fundraising efforts

Friday, January 20, 2012 by Michael Kanin

Campaign finance reports show that the race for Travis County’s Pct. 3 seat is, at least financially, a competitive one for its main combatants. In documents dated Jan. 17, incumbent Karen Huber reports about $63,600 on hand. Her featured opponent, former Pct. 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, has slightly more than $61,000.


Daugherty’s Republican primary challenger, former Eanes School Board member Jim Strickland, reported contributions of $9,429. Huber’s challenger, Albert Gonzales, reports holding about $1,200.


If money is any indication, longtime court member Ron Davis from Precinct 1 is off to a good start. His campaign reports contributions totaling more than $51,000. Davis’ two opponents, Richard Franklin and Arthur Sampson, each report less than $2,000, with Sampson holding a zero balance in his campaign fund as of Jan. 1.


Daugherty said that he’s collected $82,505. Major contributors include engineering consultant Paul Bury (who raised $2,500), Heritage Title Company President Gary Farmer ($4,500), and urban rail opponent Jim Skaggs ($5,000). He also received $1,000 from the political action committee attached to ultra-conservative industrial moguls David and Charles Koch. In addition to all of that, Daugherty has loaned himself $10,000.


According to the documents, Daugherty has already spent some $50,000. He told In Fact Daily that he used the money on “typical campaign stuff, with a little bit more accent on (social media).”


Daugherty’s impressive sum comes despite the fact that he didn’t formally enter the race until after Labor Day. Similarly, Strickland’s low figures seem to indicate that he’s fallen far behind in a race that he entered first. Daugherty told In Fact Daily that he hoped to make it through the primary on between $75,000 and $100,000.


Huber shows contributions from the reporting period of just under $50,000. Her major campaign contributors include the political action committee of high-powered Austin legal firm Brown, McCarroll ($2,500), auto magnate Red McCombs ($5,000), and philanthropist Pamela Reese ($5,000). The Travis County Sheriff’s Officers Association also contributed $5,000 to Huber’s campaign.  


Without a serious primary challenge, Huber has only spent roughly $16,000 to date.


Huber ousted Daugherty in her first run for his seat in 2008. Daugherty says that he anticipated staying out of the race for the Pct. 3 slot, until he heard that Huber would seek re-election, a fact he said surprised him.


Though the race is likely to stay relatively quiet until after the still-to-be-determined date of the Texas primary, early signs point to a Daugherty run based on transportation issues. Huber has indicated that she’ll focus on water.

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