Democratic fundraising in Tarrant County has consistently lagged behind Republicans. Yet, in the race for district attorney, Democrat Albert John Roberts received more contributions from political action committees than any other candidate.
The Justice & Public Safety political action committee made $474,933 of in-kind donations to Roberts’ campaign between Jan. 21 and Feb. 19. An in-kind donation is a non-monetary contribution. The in-kind donations were used for digital advertisements, mailers, photography, polling and events. The committee previously donated to Roberts’ campaign for district attorney in 2018.
What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)?
A PAC is a political committee organized by a business, ideological or labor interest with the purpose of raising money to elect and defeat candidates.
Justice & Public Safety PAC is based in Washington, D.C., and received over a million dollars from liberal billionaire George Soros in 2021.
This political action committee has previously swayed races in other parts of Texas. In 2018, its influence drove defense lawyer Joe Gonzales, a Democrat, to victory over incumbent Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood, a Republican, in 2018.
“It’s very indicative of the trend we’re seeing in Tarrant County,” said Allison Campolo, Tarrant County Democratic party chair. “We’re glad there’s national interests that have come to Tarrant County finally.”
The donation puts Roberts hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead of Republican candidate Mollee Westfall, who outraised him by over $100,000 from July to December. Roberts still lags far behind Krause and Sorrells in total donations. Democratic district attorney candidates Tiffany Burks and Lawrence “Larry” Meyers now also lag far behind Roberts in overall donations.
“When it becomes a national conversation, I think voters recognize that as other people coming in to mess with Tarrant County,” Rick Barnes, chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party, said.
Sorrells gets boost from Trump endorsement
Phil Sorrells, coming off an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, received support from only one political action committee. Texans For Jodey Arrington donated $2,500 to the Sorrells’ campaign. The committee has a history of donating to convservative congressional campaigns.
While Sorrells lagged behind in political action committee contributions from January to February, a late endorsement from Trump may have caused a spike in individual donations. Between Feb. 16, when Trump issued his endorsement, and Feb. 19, Sorrells netted $162,050. That’s almost triple what he raised from Jan. 1-20.
“The Trump endorsement has had a huge impact on my campaign across the board, including fundraising,” Sorrells said.
Westfall lags behind Republican counterparts
Mollee Westfall had the second-most donations from political action committees. The bulk of Westfall’s political action committees donations came from Q PAC, which gave $127,499 to the campaign. The committee also donated $10,000 to Besty Price in 2022.
She received $61,673 from the Protect and Serve Texas political action committee, a coalition of police from major cities. Westfall still lags behind her Republican counterparts in fundraising.
Krause pulls from political network
Krause had the most individual donations from political action committees, but total donations from PACs topped out at $42,500. Most of Krause’s PAC donors were from contracting and engineering companies.
Thomas Marshall, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, said that, because engineering and contracting aren’t directly related to the role of district attorney, the political action committee support is likely a carryover from Krause’s state house campaigns.
“It may be that network of people are still hanging in with him,” Marshall said.
The two other Democrats running for district attorney received nothing from political action committees. Campolo said Roberts’ fundraising boost could put Democrats in a better position to win the district attorney office in the general election.
“I think all three of our DA candidates are positioned well going in the general,” Barnes said.
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.