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Democrat Howard touts cash for Precinct 3 run

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Although he hasn’t made an official announcement, a number of Democrats have made it clear that they plan to run for Travis County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty’s seat. Daugherty said Tuesday he would announce his plans by mid-August, possibly clearing the way for one or two Republicans to run for the seat as well.

On Tuesday, Ann Howard, the founding executive director of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, announced that her campaign had raised nearly $56,000 and had more than $68,000 in cash on hand.

A look at her July 15 campaign finance report shows that she also received a $25,000 loan from her husband, John Howard Jr., the director of government affairs at Dell Technologies. The report also shows that Howard herself donated $10,000 to the campaign. As her press release pointed out she has twice as much cash on hand as her major opponent, Valinda Bolton. (This paragraph has been corrected to show the correct contribution levels.)

Other contributors include developers Perry Lorenz and Kirk Rudy; Diane Land, the wife of Mayor Steve Adler; former Council Member Randi Shade; parks advocate Ted Siff; and a number of attorneys. Howard’s website offers a reminder that there are no limits on campaign contributions in this race.

Howard has assistance in the campaign from three heavy hitters: campaign consultants David Butts, Mark Littlefield and Mark Nathan.

Bolton, also running for the Democratic nomination for the Precinct 3 seat, reported raising more than $35,000 between Feb. 15 and June 30. She had more than $29,000 in her campaign account at the end of the filing period.

Bolton did not loan the campaign any money, but did contribute $1,000. Other contributors include former Commissioner Valerie Bristol; former state Rep. Debra Danburg; Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Board Member Craig Smith; and Mayor Steve Adler’s campaign manager, Jim Wick, and his wife, Deena Estrada Salinas, who works for Council Member Paige Ellis.

The Austin Monitor searched for the July 15 filing for another candidate for the seat, Sheri Soltes, but found only certified copies of a June 2017 appointment of campaign treasurer for Soltes’ unsuccessful run for state representative of District 47. Soltes said, “We turned that in on July 15 when it was due, and were informed that we needed some extra certified copies from the Texas Ethics Commission,” from the District 47 race. She could not explain why the July 15 report was not yet up on the Travis County website and a spokesperson for the county could not say whether they had received it.

Soltes said her campaign had raised about $38,000 and did not include any loans. The Monitor asked for a copy of that report, but it had not arrived as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

This story has been corrected to show the correct contribution levels.

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