08/21/18

Race to Raise: Chevalier vs. Hegar

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts is the state’s chief financial officer. Each biennium, the comptroller is responsible for providing state lawmakers with educated estimates on how much money the state will bring in, and consequently, how much money lawmakers will have available to spend in the state’s budget.

Although Comptroller Hegar ran unopposed in the Republican primary, he will face Democrat Joi Chevalier in the November general election.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers:

Texas Comptroller – By The Numbers
Glenn Hegar (I)   Joi Chevalier 
Total Money Raised $834,986.45 $28,443.28
Total Number of Donations 178 359
Average Donation Amount $4,690.94 $79.23
Total Expenditures $917,515.04 $24,150.44

 

Joi Chevalier, a product manager and marketing advisor to tech-startups as well as owner of the Cook’s Nook, a commercial kitchen for culinary entrepreneurs, secured her party’s nomination by narrowly defeating her primary opponent, long-time political activist Tim Mahoney, 51.87% to 48.13%.

Key Takeaways from the race for Texas Comptroller:

  1. Hegar as hometown hero.
    In August, after Hurricane Harvey decimated much of southeast Texas, including Hegar’s hometown of Houston, Hegar donated a quarter of a million dollars from his campaign account to the American Red Cross to assist with Texas recovery efforts.  While politicians often use campaign funds to make contributions to local civic organizations and charitable causes like the Rotary Club or a local political party, a donation of $250,000.00 is virtually unheard-of. Political fundraising is not easy, and giving away such a large sum of those cherished dollars at the start of an election cycle proves Hegar was pretty confident that he would avoid a primary challenger and easily cruise to a November victory. It may also prove he was genuinely moved by the plight of his fellow Texans.
  2. Chevalier has more individual donors.
    Although Hegar’s fundraising dwarfs Chevalier’s by a factor of 29 to 1, and his campaign account dwarfs hers by a factor of 697 to 1, Chevalier has netted an impressive 359 contributions. Significantly, 356 of those came from individuals rather than political action committees. While it is still highly unlikely Chevalier will pull off an upset in this race, this could bode well for her political future.
  3. Hegar’s supporters come from all political stripes.
    Hegar’s budgetary estimates, while not universally liked, have been generally viewed as fair and accurate, by both sides of the political aisle. Since taking office in January 2015, he has managed to steer clear of much of Austin’s political in-fighting, and it has accrued to his benefit. Hegar’s list of supporters includes leftists such as liberal lobbyist Amy Bresnen and Border Health PAC, moderates like Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC and James Pitcock, as well as conservatives Terri and Tim Dunn.

Before you go… 

This election cycle saw an open seat in the Third Court of Appeals, the appellate court encompassing Central Texas, including Travis County. To most Texans, this is an obscure election, garnering little mainstream attention.  To Texas politicians however, this court is extremely important. As most government agencies are headquartered in Austin, the Third Court of Appeals hears most cases involving state government. In other words, this court reviews the actions and decisions of state lawmakers.  Hegar took a position in his own party’s primary, donating $5,000 to Austin lawyer Donna Davidson in January 2018. Interestingly, this was the only campaign with which Hegar shared his funds. Davidson ultimately fell to former Deputy Attorney General Mike Toth in a runoff election.

 

Our Race to Raise series takes a deeper look at the most high-profile races of the election cycle, focusing specifically on money raised by those seeking to serve in public office. Stay tuned for the next installment.

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