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Hot race shaping up for Republicans in HD 47

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman outraised four other Republican candidates vying for the chance to meet Democratic state Rep. Vikki Goodwin in the House District 47 race next year.

Zimmerman reported raising nearly $37,700 in his July 15 filing with the Texas Ethics Commission, but what set his report above the others was 24 pledges bringing his total of contributions and pledges to more than $51,000.

Those pledges include $5,000 from Tim Kelly, who was Zimmerman’s campaign manager when he lost his reelection race to Jimmy Flannigan.

So far, it looks like Zimmerman will face Austin Police Officer Justin Berry and attorneys Jenny Forgey, Aaron Reitz and Jennifer Fleck in the March 3 primary. Of course, other candidates could always decide to join the race.

Berry, who is an appointed vice president of the Austin Police Association, reported raising $25,771. His supporters include the Austin Police Association PAC, which contributed $5,000, as well as political action committees for Dallas police officers and Houston police officers. Each of those committees gave him $1,000.

Berry also received contributions from gun shop owner Michael Cargill, former Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb and Ron DeLord, who negotiates contracts with cities on behalf of police.

Forgey, a member of the Jones Law Firm, reported raising $36,900, and she had $23,500 cash on June 30, the end of the reporting period. Several of her contributors are attorneys, including Pete Winstead and lobbyist Bill Messer, as well as former state Sen. David Sibley.

Reitz reported raising $23,468 and his cash on hand was $23,488. He also reported loaning his campaign more than $10,000. Both Forgey and Reitz represent people going up against the state in regulatory matters.

Fleck, who works as general counsel in the oil and gas industry, reported raising $18,955 during the first six months of this year. She has loaned her campaign an additional $21,000 and has more than $38,000 in the bank.

As for Goodwin, who beat incumbent Republican Paul Workman in 2018, she reported raising slightly more than $17,000 between Jan. 1 and June 30, but with money already in the campaign kitty, she has nearly $37,000. Contributors to her campaign include the Lake Travis Firefighters PAC and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association PAC.

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