As an incumbent, Hidalgo is required to report contributions and expenditures every January and July during her term as county judge, according to the filing schedule from the Texas Ethics Commission. Her report from July reflects contributions made between Feb. 20—just before the March 1 primary—and June 30. Del Moral Mealer filed two reports covering the same time period: a May 16 runoff report and the July 15 mid-year report.
Breaking down the reports
Hidalgo’s campaign spent just over $569,000 during that time, while del Moral Mealer’s spent close to $1.23 million, according to the finance reports. Accounting for all contributions and expenditures, $1.98 million remained for Hidalgo’s campaign, while del Moral Mealer’s had $456,000 to spare.
Over 90% of the sum of del Moral Mealer’s total contributions came from donors who contributed $1,000 or more, compared to over 75% of Hidalgo’s contributions, according to a Community Impact Newspaper analysis of the finance reports.
In an email statement, del Moral Mealer touted the source of her campaign contributions, stating that the “overwhelming majority” of funding came from Harris County residents. Over 97% of the sum of del Moral Mealer’s $1,000-plus contributions came from donors with Harris County and Houston-area addresses.
Del Moral Mealer had at least four individual contributions of over $100,000 from donors with Houston addresses, while Hidalgo had one $100,000 donation from a donor with a California address.
Toni Harrison, a spokesperson for Hidalgo’s campaign, said in an email that the campaign was grateful for the “overwhelming support” of Harris County residents evident in the “breadth of [their] fundraising.”
The largest proportion of Hidalgo’s money went to political, financial and other kinds of consulting at over 37%, including $75,000 to Washington D.C.-based Middle Seat, a consulting firm working for progressive causes and candidates. The incumbent spent an additional $43,000 on polling.
Del Moral Mealer’s campaign spent most of its money on advertising at over 50%, sending $405,000 alone to Ax Media, a media company based out of Kansas City, Missouri. Ax Media’s clients include prominent Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz, according to the company’s website. The campaign also paid $210,000 to Ax Media’s parent company, Axiom Strategies, one of the country’s largest Republican consulting firms, and spent $52,000 on polling.
The candidates will file two more reports before the Nov. 8 general election on Oct. 11 and Oct. 31, the 30th and eighth day before the election, respectively.
Five individuals have donated $100,000 or more to del Moral Mealer’s campaign in the reporting period, including both Linda McIngvale and James “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture. Linda McIngvale donated $100,000 on May 26, while James McIngvale donated three separate times for a total of $150,100.
Del Moral Mealer’s campaign refunded an $80,100 Gallery Furniture contribution on the same day as Linda McIngvale’s contribution, so Jim McIngvale himself may have only contributed $70,000 to del Moral Mealer.
The Republican candidate received a sizable amount of her donations from homebuilders and construction companies. Richard Weekley, real estate developer and co-founder of David Weekley Homes, donated three times for a total of $205,000. His brother and chairman of the company, David Weekley, also made a $25,000 contribution. Allen Hassenflu, CEO of Fidelis Realty Partners, a commercial real estate company based in Texas, donated $100,000 on June 30. HOME-PAC, the political action committee for the Greater Houston Builders Association—a trade organization representing the residential construction and remodeling industry—donated six times for a total of $44,250 to del Moral Mealer’s campaign.
David Modesett, president of Vega Energy Partners, an energy trader based in Houston, donated two times for a total of $155,000.
Other notable donations include $1,500 from Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey’s campaign on June 17, while former Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack’s campaign donated almost $16,000 in campaign signs for del Moral Mealer.
Hidalgo received only one donation of over $50,000: a $100,000 donation from Patricia Quillin, the wife of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Over 30% of the sum of Hidalgo’s $1,000-plus contributions came from out-of-state, including donations from California and New York.
The Texas Association of Realtors PAC gave $25,000 to Hidalgo, and the Austin-based Boot Texas Republicans PAC donated $10,000. U.S. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s campaign donated $5,000.