Interactive: One More Look at Super PACs in Texas

The 2012 election marked the arrival of the political entities known as Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited funds from individual and corporate donors. Super PACs received nearly constant attention at the national level, particularly in the presidential election. But in deep-red Texas, where Mitt Romney's victory was a foregone conclusion, two other federal races — the Congressional District 23 battle between Francisco "Quico" Canseco and Pete Gallego, and the Republican primary clash between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat — saw the most Super PAC action.

But perhaps the bigger story was the money flowing out of the state into the coffers of Super PACs nationwide. Texas donors gave more than $100 million to these groups.

Below, we have prepared visuals for both sides of the coin. Take a look at which candidates received help from a Super PAC, and which Texans gave the most money to Super PACs.

Super PAC Spending in Texas

Twelve separate Texas races felt the influence of a Super PAC, but the U.S. Senate race and CD-23 race drew the highest amounts of spending — a combined $15.9 million.

In the Senate primary, Dewhurst spent nearly $20 million, and loaned more than $16.5 million of his on money to his campaign. But Super PACs pushed the amount spent in the race even higher, hitting each candidate with $5 million worth of attacks. Despite Dewhurst's financial advantage, Cruz won the Republican nomination and then easily won the general election.

The close CD-23 race between Canseco and Gallego recorded the second-highest amount of super PAC involvement in Texas, with a combined $2.5 million spent in opposition and support of both candidates.

2012 Candidates with Super PAC Money Spent in Texas in Support/Opposition
Candidate Party Race District Won/Lost? Super PAC Support Super PAC Opposition
Gingrich, Newt R President Lost $48,935.00 $0.00
Paul, Ron R President Lost $3,687.32 $0.00
Perry, Rick R President Lost $37,021.95 $0.00
Romney, Mitt R President Lost $10,586.52 $6,855.68
Santorum, Rick R President Lost $7,175.96 $0.00
Brady, Kevin R U.S. House 8 Won $167.12 $0.00
Farenthold, Blake R U.S. House 27 Won $0.00 $7,023.22
Gallego, Pete D U.S. House 23 Won $185,670.99 $1,093,935.21
Hall, Ralph Moody R U.S. House 4 Won $0.00 $167,370.80
Stockman, Steve R U.S. House 36 Won $1,900.75 $0.00
Veasey, Marc D U.S. House 33 Won $108,988.00 $0.00
Weber, Randy R U.S. House 14 Won $0.00 $62,036.50
Canseco, Francisco Raul "Quico" R U.S. House 23 Lost $9,025.50 $1,308,000.07
Clayton, Taj D U.S. House 30 Lost $16,508.99 $40,070.01
Puente Bradshaw, Jessica R U.S. House 34 Lost $1,175.79 $0.00
Reyes, Silvestre D U.S. House 16 Lost $6,848.23 $240,000.00
Riddle, Wesley Allen R U.S. House 25 Lost $5,042.34 $0.00
Williams, Michael R U.S. House 25 Lost $172,721.08 $0.00
Cruz, Ted R U.S. Senate Won $1,903,361.55 $5,873,432.30
Dewhurst, David R U.S. Senate Lost $546,745.00 $5,031,329.23
James, Craig R U.S. Senate Lost $120,000.00 $0.00
Leppert, Tom D U.S. Senate Lost $0.00 $390,500.00

Texas Donors to Super PACs

Texas donors provided more than $100 million to Super PACs. Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who donated $22.2 million, makes up nearly one-fifth of that total. Perry's largest single recipient was the Romney-supporting Restore Our Future, which received $10.7 million. Perry also gave $7.5 million to the pro-GOP American Crossroads. Another fifth of that total came from Dallas billionare Harold Simmons, who by name and through his company Contran Corporation gave a combined $25.6 million. Like Perry, much of this went to one group, American Crossroads, which received $19.5 million from Simmons.

Each color on the chart represents one of the top 20 Super PAC recipients of Texas money. To view the individual donors who have given at least $10,000 to a group, click on the PAC to zoom in.

Comment Policy

The Texas Tribune is pleased to provide the opportunity for you to share your observations about this story. We encourage lively debate on the issues of the day, but we ask that you refrain from using profanity or other offensive speech, engaging in personal attacks or name-calling, posting advertising, or wandering away from the topic at hand. To comment, you must be a registered user of the Tribune, and your real name will be displayed. Thanks for taking time to offer your thoughts.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Sign-Up