to one state House campaign. Are you kidding me?
Political contributions from a San Antonio doctor to a Longview man trying to unseat the local state representative have surpassed a half-million dollars.
Republican Mark Williams has raised more than $500,000 from Dr. James Leininger of San Antonio, a staunch school voucher supporter.
According to Williams' campaign finance reports, between Dec. 31 and Feb. 25, he's raised a total of $527,381— $504,886 from Leininger.
The money is directed to the Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, in which Leininger is the main contributor, giving 96 percent to Williams' campaign during that period.
Williams is trying to unseat Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, in Tuesday's Republican primary and has criticized Merritt for being ineffective during his 10 years in office.
"There's no such thing as the Republican Party anymore," Merritt said. "It's the Leininger party. That's a lot of money just for one seat in the Legislature."
An Austin-based political analyst has said in a state representative race in rural Texas, donors usually raise between $60,000 and $100,000 in a well-funded campaign. Reports from July 1, 2005 to Feb. 25 show Merritt has raised about $166,000.
"It's just about controlling the Legislature and intimidating the Legislature and bullying the Legislature," Merritt said of Leininger's contributions. "This is about intimidating the voters and ... being a predator to the voters using huge sums of money to turn voters away from the polls, to discourage individuals from running for office and being public servants."