Mom always said you are known by the company you keep, but in the world of politics you're known by the contributors who keep you.
Texans for Public Justice was out with the contributors list in that runoff duel between former Rep. Carol Alvarado and former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia for the late Sen. Mario Gallegos's seat. The final vote in the Senate District 6 race is set for Saturday, and it seems turnout will be among only the most devoted voters.
Alvarado, 45, has the endorsement of Gallegos's family, firefighters and Republican opponent R.W. Bray. Garcia, 62, has drawn the support of Harris County AFL-CIO, Texas American Federation of Teachers and Democratic opponent Joaquin Martinez.
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The two candidates have raised more than $2.1 million since October. Two-thirds of Garcia's money throughout the race has come from Houston attorney Steve Mostyn and affiliated attorneys and political action committees, according to TPJ. Critics like to label the vocal Mostyn as "that big mass torts lawyer" and one of Gov. Rick Perry's wealthiest critics.
Alvarado's support came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the Hillco PAC, which is heavily financed by homebuilder Bob Perry. TLR, which banks on lawmakers who support tort reform and limit punitive damages, took a hard hit during the recent election, pouring more than $1 million into the losing Senate campaign of Elizabeth Ames Jones. More often than not, TLR's candidates are in the win column.
Alvarado also got a big chunk of money from the Stand for Children PAC, which promotes school choice and opposes teacher union power, hence the Texas AFT's strong support for Garcia.
Both women took in some token amounts from gambling interests, according to TPJ. Casino supporter Tilman Fertitta kicked in for Alvarado. Oklahoma's Choctaw Nation made a contribution to Garcia.