02/09/17

A Closer Look – Peter & Juliana Holt

Residing near San Antonio, Peter and Juliana Holt own HoltCAT, the largest Caterpillar dealership in the United States, as well as Spurs Sports & Entertainment (which owns five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, WNBA San Antonio Stars, AHL Rampage, and the NBA Development Team Austin Spurs). Mr. Holt received the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and three Bronze Stars for his military service during the Vietnam War. The couple’s donations to Texas candidates and PACs in the last cycle totaled $945,000.

The Holts’ giving concentrated on Republican statewide candidates and one influential Republican PAC. Only one Democrat benefitted from the Holts’ largesse.

Here’s an overview of Peter and Juliana Holt’s giving from the past election cycle:

Peter & Juliana Holt – A Closer Look
Total Donations $945,000
Total Number of Donations 12
Average Donation Amount $78,750
Donations to Republicans $472,216
Donations to Democrats $5,000
Donations to Texas House Candidates $100,000
Percentage of Donations to Texas House Candidates 10.58%
Donations to Texas Senate Candidates $5,000
Percentage of Donations to Texas Senate Candidates .53%
Donations to Statewide Candidates $540,000
Percentage of Donations to Statewide Candidates 57.14%
Donations to Advocacy Groups $300,000
Percentage of Donations to Advocacy Groups 31.75%
Donations Given Inside Home District $100,000
Percentage of Donations Inside Home District 10.58%
Donations Given Outside Home District $845,000
Percentage of Donations Outside Home District 89.42%

 

Key takeaways from Mr. & Mrs. Holt’s giving:

  1. Key supporters of advocacy group, Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
    Peter and Juliana Holt were the fifth largest contributors this election cycle to Texans for Lawsuit Reform, an influential PAC in Republican primaries. Over the years, Texans for Lawsuit Reform has successfully advocated for monetary limits on awards in the Texas civil court system, most notably in medical malpractice cases.
  2. Concentrated support on statewide leadership.
    Contributions to the state’s top three elected officials – Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus – composed 66% of the Holts’ giving this cycle. Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick received $250,000 and $25,000 respectively. While not elected by voters statewide but still considered among the three most powerful politicians in Texas, Speaker Straus received $100,000 from the Holts. Their propensity to support those in power, coupled with the fact that they reside in Speaker Straus’ district, were the likely reasons for such generous support.
  3. Supreme Court of Texas.
    The 2016 Republican Party primary saw three heated races for seats on Texas’ highest civil court. The Holts contributed $5,000 each to three candidates. Two were incumbents on the high court – Justice Eva Guzman and Justice Paul Green.  Interestingly, the third judicial candidate supported by the Holts was Justice Michael Massengale, a Republican who serves on the First District Court of Appeals. Justice Massengale unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Justice Debra Lehrmann. Texans for Lawsuit Reform also heavily backed Massengale.

Most interesting donation:

While the Holts concentrated their giving on major statewide players in Texas politics, two $2,500 donations to State Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer serve as outliers. Rep. Martinez-Fischer was vying for a promotion to serve as State Senator of Senate District 26. The $5,000 given to Rep. Martinez-Fischer made up only .53% of the Holts’ total giving, but was the only deviation from their norm of supporting established Republicans. These donations seem particularly interesting since the Holts do not reside in Senate District 26. Instead, they live in nearby Senate District 25, represented by State Senator Donna Campbell to whom they did not contribute financially. Unfortunately for the Holts and Rep. Martinez-Fischer, his bid to represent Senate District 26 failed as he was beaten by State Senator Jose Menendez.

 

Our A Closer Look series provides a breakdown of a particular donor’s giving habits within Texas politics. We specifically analyze to whom money is given and when, thus providing context so citizens can determine the motivation behind the donor’s giving. Stay tuned for the next installment.

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