Archive | March 4, 2014


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ABC of Texas Update

By the time you receive this update, the primary elections will be underway, or at least the end will be underway.  Actually, the election began on February 18 and the initial stage (early voting) ended on Friday, February 28.  In the last Republican Primary, about 55% of the votes were cast early.  We’ll know soon if that is the case again.

And, tonight or early tomorrow morning, we will know who the nominees of the respective parties are, or at least who they may be because several statewide races are likely to have runoffs (as will a good number of primary races for open legislative seats).  

What that means for ABC of Texas (and TEXO) is that Jack Baxley, Mike Toomey and your ABC of Texas President will be scrambling to identify those opportunities for our groups to engage in races where there is either a clear philosophical or performance difference or an opportunity.  There will be some surprises from the primary—there always are.  We just have to react and try to add some more pieces to this jigsaw puzzle we face together every 2 years.

And, at ABC of Texas meetings there are sometimes questions about why ABC of Texas spends more PAC money in one area than another.  Frequently, some of this is because the local chapters make significant local effort above and beyond their state PAC allocation and geographic areas are not uniform in the number of contested races.  ABC PAC gives in statewide races, legislative races outside chapter areas, and races in chapter areas where supplemental help is needed for the benefit of ABC of Texas.  

It does cause some questions among some of the ABC-only chapters who do not consider the unique nature of TEXO.  Being both an AGC-TBB chapter and an ABC of Texas chapter means TEXO is exhausting its PAC contributions making allocations to both groups’ state PACs.   Since ABC of Texas staff prioritizes races statewide when making recommendations, and some chapters have the ability to supplement with local effort, it can look like (and may very well be the case that) ABC of Texas is giving disproportionately to races in the TEXO area.   But, ABC of Texas has at least two other chapters that cannot raise enough money to make either their allocation or any local effort, so it really is not unique, just on a larger scale due to geography and frequently the high number of contested races.

Thus, when the dust settles, ABC of Texas may end up giving anywhere from 150% to as much as 300% of the TEXO allocation back in the TEXO geographic area.  Remember, ABC of Texas staff recommendations are based on a statewide look at needs, not geographical balancing (which would defeat our overall goals).  That is because, even though from a TEXO perspective delivering an AGC-TBB PAC check or an ABC PAC check means money is being contributed by TEXO, without the ABC PAC name on a candidate’s campaign finance report, ABC would appear not to be participating in elections in that area.

This is not the perfect circumstance, but life seldom finds perfection.  It is a workable circumstance until we can find a better way to manage ABC of Texas’ participation in elections.

Before this bi-monthly columns ends, it is important to thank those TEXO Board members—Russ Garrison, Paul Lembke and GPaul Holliman (our ABC of Texas Treasurer)—for all their help in keeping ABC of Texas moving forward.  It is not always without a bump or two.  Of course, nothing worthwhile is easy.

And, we need to thank the TEXO staff, specifically Brad Brown and Jack Baxley for their help in our efforts to move ABC of Texas forward.  Brad has been very communicative and helpful when called upon and has recently offered a way to seek more cooperation and communication between AGC-TBB and ABC of Texas.  That is much appreciated.  Of course, Jack Baxley is the only government affairs person who is on the front lines with us during legislative sessions.  And, he is the point person on coordinating our PAC expenditures in the TEXO area.

Thanks, TEXO!


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