Tarrant County Republicans raised six times more than their Democratic counterparts in the final days of campaigning.
Republican candidates for county judge and district attorney once again pulled away from their Democratic rivals in fundraising, according to final campaign finance reports submitted Oct. 31. The final reports before Election Day include donations from Sept. 30 to Oct. 29. Early voting began Oct. 24 and is open through Nov. 4; Election Day is Nov. 8.
The most recent campaign finance reports follow the trend of past reports, Republicans have regularly outraised Democrats for county office.
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The difference was most prominent in the race for county judge, where Republican Tim O’Hare outraised Democrat Deborah Peoples in fundraising by more than $300,000.
In the criminal district attorney race, fundraising numbers were closer, but Republican Phil Sorrells still outraised Democrat Tiffany Burks by about $187,000.
The difference was large checks, Fort Worth Report analysis found. O’Hare received 76 donations of $1,000 and above, compared with Peoples netting 14 donations worth $1,000 and above.
The trend extends to the District Attorney’s race where Sorrells raised 41 donations worth $1,000 and above while Burks raised five.
All of the campaigns will maintain some cash on hand through the end of the race. Sorrell’s will maintain the most with about $171,000 in his war chest. O’Hare will maintain about $119,000.
Peoples will maintain about $75,000 through the end of the campaign, and Burks will hold on to about $20,000
Fundraising gap widens in county judge race
In one month, O’Hare brought in about $464,000. The final fundraising push received a significant boost from big dollar donors.
Don Woodard Jr, president of The Western Companies, contributed $100,000 to O’Hare this fundraising cycle. That’s in addition to $96,000 that Woodard previously contributed to the O’Hare campaign. O’Hare also received a total of $50,000 from the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, led by former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford.
Peoples raised $91,285 from Sept. 30 to Oct. 29, further deepening the fundraising gap between Peoples and her Republican opponent. Her largest donor was The Collective PAC, which aims to increase Black people holding public office. The PAC contributed $25,000.
Peoples’ largest individual donor was Rosa Navejar, president of the Rios Group and former president of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Navejar donated $5,000 to Peoples’ campaign.
Significant disparities existed in the amounts spent by both campaigns in their final month. Peoples spent about $140,000, while O’Hare spent about $651,000. That means for every $1 Peoples spent, O’Hare spent $5.
The bulk of O’Hare’s expenditures were on advertising. About $484,000 was spent on advertising in October. Ax Media, which offers strategic planning and media buying services, spent about $402,421 of O’Hare’s war chest.
Peoples spent about $101,206 on advertising in October. Most of that money went to Kinetic Campaigns, a progressive political communications firm.
Fundraising for district attorney closer, but Sorrells outspends Burks
Republican Phil Sorrells and Democrat Tiffany Burks are closer in fundraising than the candidates for county judge. Burks brought in about $18,000 in the final month compared to Sorrell’s $205,000.
Sorrell’s two largest donors were Randy Stevenson, a real estate broker, and George Young, an attorney. Both men donated $25,000 to the Sorrells campaign. Hollis Sullivan, who donated about $210,000 to O’Hare by way of the We Can Keep It PAC, donated $10,000 to Sorrells in October.
Burk’s top donor is retiree Anne Swenson who contributed $3,200 to Burk’s campaign. Swenson also contributed about $3,400 to Peoples’ campaign.
Sorrells significantly outspent Burks in the final month of the campaign. He spent about $355,000 total compared with Burks’ $38,000. For every $1 Burks spent, Sorrells spent $9.
Sorrell’s campaign spent about $349,000 on advertising alone this month, most of those funds went to Campaign Shortcuts LLC which provides data analysis and application.
Burks spent about $17,000 on advertising in the campaign’s final month. Most of the payments for advertising went to the United States Postal Service.
Election Day is Nov. 8. Officeholders are required to turn in their semi-annual campaign finance reports in January.
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for fortworthreport.org. She can be reached at email@example.com. 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.