08/01/19

Top Ten Texas Donors for 2020

Nearly $70 million has already been pumped into the accounts of Texas candidates and PACs for the 2020 elections. Who’s giving all that money? Lots of everyday Texans. Ninety-seven percent of all contributions so far have been for $1,000 or less. 

But there are lots of big checks flying around. Meet the big-dollar donors who have already donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Texas campaigns and PACS.*

  1. Michael & Mary Porter ($1,300,000) Michael and Mary Porter own and manage Cross Creek Ranch in Doss, Texas. Michael is an army veteran and, together, he and his wife provide a variety of philanthropic services to their community. This includes contributing to the Doss Fire Department in the form of a new fire station, allowing combat veterans to hunt on their ranch, and contributing to various local community organizations. This donation marks the second time the Porters have donated $1 million to Governor Greg Abbott (the first was in 2017). Other beneficiaries of the Porters’ largess include Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and the Porters’ own State Senator Dawn Buckingham.
  2. S. Javaid Anwar ($1,225,000) S. Javaid Anwar graduated from the University of Wyoming and has worked throughout Texas as a petroleum engineer. He formed Midland Energy in 1984 and incorporated Petroplex Energy into the business in 1985. He is currently a board member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and has received numerous philanthropy awards. Mr. Anwar also gave $1 million to Abbott. His remaining donations flowed to Patrick and Paxton, as well as Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, and Land Commissioner George  P. Bush.
  3. James D. Pitcock, Jr. ($856,000) James Pitcock, Jr. is the co-founder and CEO of Williams Brothers Construction Company and resides in Houston. His company is one of the largest highway and bridge contractors in the state, undertaking projects both in Texas and across the nation. In addition to donations to Abbott and Patrick, Pitcock donated to Comptroller Glenn Hegar, two Texas Supreme Court Justices, Nathan Hecht and Brett Busby, as well as two moderate Republican PACs, Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Associated Republicans of Texas.
  4. Drayton McLane, Jr. ($580,500) Drayton McLane, Jr. sold his family’s grocery distribution company to Sam Walton (the namesake of Walmart) and made a fortune. Under McLane’s tenure, the scale and profitability of the family business grew stratospherically. ​Forbes listed McLane as America’s 354th wealthiest American in 2018 with a net worth of $2.3 billion. McLane made donations to 11 incumbent Republicans, one incumbent Democrat, State Senator Judith Zaffirini, and the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC.
  5. T. Dan Friedkin ($572,000) Dan Friedkin is the CEO of the Houston-based Gulf States Toyota. He is the Chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group and is the founder and chairman of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. ​Friedkin also made the Forbes​ list, ranked as the 179th wealthiest American in 2018 with a net worth of $4 billion dollars. The entire amount donated by Mr. Friedkin went to Gulf States Toyota PAC, which, in turn, made donations to Abbott, Patrick, Hegar, Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton, and the Harris County Republican Party
  6. Kenny A. & Lisa Troutt ($525,000) Kenny and Lisa Troutt live in Dallas, Texas. ​Kenny Troutt founded Excel Communications in 1988, and Forbes r​anks him as having a net worth of $1.4 billion dollars. Lisa is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where the Troutts have donated $500,000. She is active in politics, religion, and philanthropy, co-founding the Council for Life, hosting Christian events and fundraisers at their home, and is a Civic Member with the Dallas-Fort Worth Salvation Army. The Troutts are a force in the world of horse racing, boasting a 2018 Kentucky Derby win for their horse, “Justify.” In addition to donations to Abbott and Bush, the Troutts made contributions to Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Hispanic Republicans of Texas PACs. 
  7. Holloway Frost & Kathaleen Wall ($503,663) Houston couple Holloway Frost and Kathaleen Wall are Texas political donors and activists. Frost founded and served as CEO of the high-tech company Texas Memory Systems, which was acquired by IBM in 2012. Wall is a well-known Republican activist. She unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Texas’ Second Congressional District race in 2018. As some of the more conservative donors on this list, Mr. Frost and Ms. Wall supported five incumbent Republicans and seven PACs including Village Republican Women, Texas Tea Party Republican Women, and the Yellow Rose of Texas Republican Women.
  8. Richard & Nancy Kinder ($485,000) Richard Kinder is the Executive Chairman of Kinder Morgan, a pipeline company he co-founded in 1997 after leaving his position as President of Enron in 1996. Forbes ​listed Richard Kinder as the 79th richest man in America (in a four-way tie) in 2018 with a net worth of $6.6 billion dollars. Morgan and his wife Nancy are major philanthropists, with over $423 million in grants through their Kinder Foundation. The Kinders supported Abbott and three PACs, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Associated Republicans of Texas, and GPS Action, an education reform PAC.
  9. Richard Weekley ($477,630) Richard Weekley is the co-founder of David Weekley Homes as well as the co-founder, Senior Chairman and CEO of Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR), whose objective is to reduce “needless lawsuits.” Since its inception in 1994, TLR has achieved political success in the form of tort reform. Weekley resides in Houston. He has made 70 separate contributions already this election cycle — more than anyone else on this top ten list. In addition to contributions to 63 candidates, his largest contribution was $300,000 to TLR, the PAC he founded.
  10. Robert B. Rowling ($442,500) Robert Rowling is a Dallas businessman who earned his fortune in the hotel industry and through investments. According to ​Dallas News​, he purchased Omni hotels in 1996 in order to diversify family holdings beyond the oil and gas business. Omni nets $2 billion in annual sales. ​Forbes ​listed Rowling in 2018 as the 104th wealthiest American with a net worth of $5.6 billion dollars. Mr. Rowling made contributions to the campaigns of Abbott, Patrick, Paxton, Supreme Court Justice Busby, House Rep. Morgan Meyer, and Hispanic Republicans of Texas PAC.

Next we’ll bring you a run down of which Texas Political Action Committees (PACs) are the most well-funded, which side they are on, and what that could mean for 2020. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out.

*We’ll update this list every time additional campaign finance reports are released.

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