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Dollar per dollar, counting cost of HD 49 race

Monday, March 7, 2016 by Jo Clifton

When Austin Independent School District Board Trustee Gina Hinojosa won the Democratic primary and thus the right to take her place in the Texas House next January, she spent nearly $191,000 to get 57 percent of the vote. But on a vote-for-vote basis, Hinojosa spent a modest $10.95 per vote, according to calculations done by the Texas Tribune for money spent through Feb. 22. Other calculations presented by the Tribune show that only one candidate in the seven-person House District 49 race, Huey Rey Fischer, spent less on a per-vote basis. Fischer, who came in third with 4,311 votes, spent only $7.02 per vote. University of Texas Law School professor Heather Way spent $35.41 per vote, more than three times as much as Hinojosa, to come in second. Way spent more than $203,000 by Feb. 22. But the big spender in this race was attorney Blake Rocap, who reported loaning his campaign $100,000 and spending $114,000 but received only 982 votes, which works out to $116.30 per vote. The other contenders – Matthew Shrum, Aspen Dunaway and Kenton Johnson – each scored in the single digits. Johnson reportedly spent $35.38 per vote, Dunaway spent $22.78 per vote and Shrum spent $13.66 for each of his 717 votes. Hinojosa won all of the endorsements, save one, which Fischer claimed. This race appears to prove true the old saying that it’s better to have friends than money – even in politics. But, of course, it’s best to have both.

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