Alexandra del Moral Mealer, the Republican candidate for Harris County judge, raised over $3.7 million between Sept. 30-Oct. 29 for an amount four times greater than that raised by Democratic incumbent County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

During the previous three-month-long reporting period, del Moral Mealer’s haul tripled Hidalgo’s, and over an eight-month period from Feb. 20-Oct. 29, del Moral Mealer raked in $10.34 million to Hidalgo’s $3.58 million.

In a Nov. 1 news release, Hidalgo’s campaign said Hidalgo had raised $911,000 from 2,410 individual donors and claimed del Moral Mealer’s $3.7 million came from “Texas’ most extreme, far-right stakeholders.”

“It’s hard to imagine that wealthy donors who want Harris County to return to good ol’ boy politics for their corporate interests can relate to Harris County residents who want to keep moving forward,” Toni Harrison, spokesperson for Hidalgo’s campaign, said in a statement.

Harrison has said the judge does not accept donations from those seeking to do business with the county, according to prior Community Impact reporting.

A representative from del Moral Mealer’s campaign could not be reached for comment.

According to the reports filed Oct. 31, del Moral Mealer spent more than twice as much as Hidalgo during this reporting period at $4.68 million to Hidalgo’s $2.17 million, but Hidalgo had slightly more left to spend with 10 days remaining until Election Day at $565,000 to $405,000 for del Moral Mealer.

Big dollar donations

During the Sept. 30-Oct. 29 reporting period, over 79% of the sum of del Moral Mealer’s total contributions came from donors who contributed $5,000 or more, compared to over 43% of Hidalgo’s contributions, according to a Community Impact analysis of the finance reports.

Six individual donors and two political action committees contributed over $100,000 apiece, making up over 40% of the sum of del Moral Mealer’s total contributions. Top donor Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture, donated five times in the month-long reporting period for a total of $448,000. Together, McIngvale and his wife Linda have donated at least $738,000 to del Moral Mealer since Feb. 20.

Billionaire Jeffery Hildebrand, CEO of energy company Hilcorp, donated $150,000 to del Moral Mealer’s campaign. Similar to the McIngvales, Hildebrand and his wife Melinda have donated at least $527,000 to the Republican candidate’s campaign over the last eight months.

And David Modesett, president of Vega Energy Partners, an energy trader based in Houston, gave $275,000 in monetary contributions and over $22,000 in non-monetary “in-kind” contributions for food, beverage and staffing for an event. Modesett alone has donated $530,000 to del Moral Mealer since Feb. 20.

The Greater Houston Builders Association, which represents the residential construction and remodeling industry, gave $101,000 to del Moral Mealer in this reporting period and over $220,000 since Feb. 20. The Defend Texas Liberty PAC contributed $100,000.

Hidalgo’s largest contribution came from actress and activist Jane Fonda, whose political action committee gave $50,000 on Oct. 25 just a few days after Fonda’s block-walking event with the county judge on Oct. 22.

Bigger advertising

In the month-long reporting period that ended just after early voting began, both candidates for county judge spent the vast majority of their political contributions on advertising.

Del Moral Mealer spent over 80% on advertising, with more than $2.63 million going 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 over $646,000 to Ax Media’s parent company, Axiom Strategies, one of the country’s largest Republican consulting firms.

Hidalgo spent an even greater proportion of her contributions on advertising at over 87%, including over $1.87 million to Old Towne Media based out of Alexandria, Virginia. Harrison said in a statement that Old Towne Media is a media buyer working in partnership with Declaration Media, a company that has made television ads in support of President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama.

Del Moral Mealer’s own advertising efforts were bolstered by the Houston Region Business Coalition, which donated over $200,000 in media placements and canvassing. Jeffery Hildebrand is an HRBC trustee along with Alan Hassenflu, the CEO of commercial real estate company Fidelis Realty Partners and frequent donor to del Moral Mealer; Hassenflu gave $50,000 during the most recent reporting period for a total of $500,000 since Feb. 20.

For more information on the candidates for Harris County judge, see a Community Impact Q&A here.