by ANDY SEVILLA
San Marcos crushed Kyle and Buda by margins of almost 4:1 each in donated contributions to this year’s general election cycle, thus far, but each city, too, has a different top candidate raking in the money.
Former three-term San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz (R-San Marcos), who is challenging incumbent Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) for the newly drawn District 35 U.S. Congressional seat, has received $35,691 from San Marcos contributors alone, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that monitors campaign finances.
San Marcos has contributed $142,380 in this election cycle, with Buda and Kyle donating $37,951, and $37,377, respectively, according to the center’s review of campaign finance reports through Oct. 1.
All three cities’ greatest attention this election cycle seems to be on the national stage; San Marcos has its pockets closely focused on its representative in Congress, while Kyle and Buda have their sights on the nation’s highest office.
Narvaiz is San Marcos’ top political contribution earner, the center’s data shows. President Barack Obama (Democrat) is Buda’s top recipient at $10,900, and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is Kyle’s top beneficiary at $7,435.
Doggett, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, shows up in each city’s list of top 10 contribution recipients. Doggett is in the number five spot in San Marcos with $9,500, he’s also received $3,500 and $2,000 from Kyle and Buda, respectively.
Obama has taken in $6,500 in Kyle and $17,262 in San Marcos. Romney’s campaign war chest has grown by $8,665 in Buda and $10,900 in San Marcos.
“Contributions from the grass roots are always going to be important to any campaign,” said Hays County Republican Party Chair Shawn Blakeley. “Especially from small dollar donors; that’s a direct gauge of how well you’re doing with the middle class.”
Blakely also noted that the time volunteers put forth for campaigns is equally important to financial contributions.
The center’s figures for the past 18 years show that Kyle and Buda’s biggest political contribution year was in 2008 with $90,492 and $59,402 donated, respectively, though this election cycle’s figures have only been accounted for through Oct. 1. San Marcos contributed $204,152 in 2004, and this election cycle has already inched up to second place by over $6,500 from the 2008 figures.
“If you simply observe what’s going on nationwide, political contributions are extremely important,” Hays County Democratic Party Chair Bill Liddle said, adding that candidates have a need to get their message out to the masses, and “unfortunately” you have to raise a lot of money to be competitive and relay your message. “There really is no alternative.”
The center’s data shows that Texas leads the nation in political contributions to Republicans with $124,150,262, and ranks second with total itemized contributions at $242,325,942 – this figure includes PAC contributions to candidates, individual contributions of $200 or more, and Levin Fund contributions, according to the center’s data.
Texas also ranked first in the nation in soft money donations at $75,404,575, and third in PAC donations at $16,436,337. Texas ranked sixth in total contributions to Democrats at $42,587,315.
Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson has contributed $1,250 to Doggett in this election cycle. Buda Mayor Sarah Mangham and San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero have not made donations to any candidate running for 2012 office, according the center’s data.
Hays Free Press Publisher Emeritus Bob Barton and Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe have each contributed $250 to Doggett.
Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan said Hays County preliminarily shows to have 103,905 registered voters, though she said that number could change in the coming days as the State sorts out its figures.
Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade said in a press release that Texas reached a record number of registered voters this election cycle. As of Friday, Oct. 19, Texas had 13,646,226 registered voters, narrowly surpassing the previous State record of 13,575,062 registered voters set for the 2008 General Election.
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