Original Link: http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012/02/texas-donors-have-given-more-to-super-pacs-than-any-other-state/
In 2011, Texas donated $20,405,728 million dollars, or a fifth of all donations, to super PACs, more than any other state, according to data provided by the Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch.
Finishing just behind Texas: New York ($13,302,552), the District of Columbia ($12,535,981) California ($12,257,282) and Massachusetts ($5,231,977.)
The other 46 states donated a collective $29,190,791 – less than a third of overall spending.
For Meredith McGehee, the Policy Director for the Campaign Legal Center and a native Texan, it’s clear why the state is in the lead.
“Texas is one of the reddest of the red states and there’s a Republican primary going on,” McGehee said. Having two elected Texas officials in the race at one point – Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul – also increased the funds given by the state.
Texas’s generosity to the super PACs probably won’t translate to any additional favors for the state as much as it will for the individual donors, McGehee said.
“You have this very small group of people basically financing the elections,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s Texas (that will benefit). I think it’s how they treat these people, these funders.”
Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science the University of California Irvine said he’d expect the second most populous state in the nation to be one of the top donors to super PACs.
“It’s not surprising that Texas is leading,” Hasen said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it were New York or California either. You’ve got in Texas some very wealthy people who have opinions and want to put their money where their mouth is.”
From the numbers, the Texan opinion favors Romney. His two Super PACs raised $2,081,625 from the state, compared to the mere $2,725 collected for President Barack Obama’s Super PAC. Newt Gingrich’s Super PACs raised $601,000 in Texas, more than in any of the other top five states. Ron Paul’s Super PACs raised $230,000. Rick Santorum managed to raise only $5,000 in 2011 – but that was prior to his winning four primaries in 2012.
About half of Romney’s support comes from Bob Perry – a checkbook familiar to many politicians in Texas and elsewhere. Owner of Perry Homes, Perry is unique among Romney’s top donors, most of who are involved at least partially in the energy business and feel Romney is their best hope to get a Republican back in office, said Mark P. Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University.
“The energy, industry more than anything else, has been frustrated at President Obama on several fronts – drilling restrictions, no Keystone (XL Pipeline),” Jones said. “Their vision is that Mitt Romney has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama because he provides them w the best vehicle to replace Barack Obama.
But Romney’s victory is not yet fully secured. Santorum is far ahead of Romney in Texas, according to poll conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune.
And Hasan pointed out that with the Republican primaries still in full swing, it’s likely Texas will lose its spot as top super PAC donor when Democrats begin to fund Obama’s campaign.
“It’s early,” Hasen said. “You’re looking at a snapshot in time.”