EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Over six months, Art Fierro and Claudia Ordaz Perez raised just over $60,000 in political contributions in their campaigns for election in the Texas State House District 79 seat.
The two Democrats reported their campaign finances on Jan. 15 for a period of time covering July 1 and December 31 last year. The two are the Democratic candidates for the primary on March 1. Early voting begins on February 14.
There is no Republican challenger for the political office and the winner of the Democratic primary will outright win election.
Just recently, the Texas Eighth Court of Appeals ruled Ordaz Perez could run for the seat after Fierro submitted a claim she did not move into the district in time to satisfy residency requirements.
Campaign finance reports show Art Fierro received more political contributions between July and December than Ordaz Perez. Fierro raised nearly $36,000 in political contributions. And, Ordaz Perez raised just over $27,000.
Fierro loaned himself $12,000. The two spent over $91,000 for their campaigns during the six-month period. Ordaz Perez received a $3,500 in-kind contribution from STRDM.
The reports show Fierro still has just over $16,000 in contributions and Ordaz Perez has over $31,000.
As for expenses, Fierro spent $66,878 during the reporting period. His biggest expenses included nearly $18,000 on an apartment at Republic Square in Austin. He paid Campaign Services LLC $10,500 over five payments for consulting services.
He also made a $5,000 payment to Blanco Ordonez Mata & Welchsler P.C. for consulting.
Fierro’s biggest donors were fellow state Rep. Joe Moody’s campaign, Randall Bowling, the Tigua Indian Reservation and Texas Trail Lawyers Association PAC. All made a $2,500 contribution to Fierro.
Notable donations also came from former state Senator Eliot Shapleigh ($500), Dori Fenenbock ($500), the El Paso Eastside Democrats ($200), Walmart Inc. PAC ($1,000), Employees of Raytheon Technologies Corp. PAC ($750), and former NBA basketball coach Steve Van Gundy ($17.54).
Ordaz Perez made $24,604 in expenses over the reporting period. Her largest expense included nearly $9,000 to El Paso Mail and Print Service for a Christmas card print and mailer.
She also made a $1,500 contribution to the El Paso Community Foundation for an Angel David Garcia memorial. Her largest expenses also included fees for staff to attend the National Conference of State Legislators and lodging at a hotel in Austin.
Ordaz Perez’s largest political contributions came from Richard Raymond ($3,000), a fellow house representative from Webb County, which includes the city of Laredo. El Paso state Rep. Lina Ortega donated $1,000 to Ordaz Perez’s campaign.
She also received three $2,000 donations from Daniel Valencia, the Texas State Farm Agents PAC, and Bryan Mena.
Notable donations also came from other Texas representatives. Ordaz Perez received donations from Rep. Joseph Deshotel of Beaumont ($500), Rep. Gina Hinojosa of Austin ($1,000), Rep. Celia Israel of Austin ($550), and Rep. Trey Martinez of San Antonio ($1,000).
Race for District 79 seat
In November, Ordaz Perez announced she would challenge Fierro for his seat after changing her voting address to a residence on the East Side.
Governor Greg Abbott approved new political maps created during redistricting in the state. Redistricting is a reference to the process where political districts are drawn based on population and are done every 10 years after the U.S. Census Bureau conducts its survey of the population in the United States.
Ordaz Perez’s House District 76, was removed from El Paso putting her home in District 77, now represented by Lina Ortega.
Ordaz Perez said she would not run against Ortega. And, said the two were being punished by Texas House Republicans were punishing them for breaking quorum during a special session held by the legislature.
Texas Democrats had gone to Washington D.C. to call for federal protections against new voter suppression laws being passed in the state.
In October, Ordaz Perez changed her voting address in the Lower Valley to one on the East Side, which signaled an intention to run for a district outside of where she was living.