The polls have been open for nearly three hours, but they’ll stay open for about nine more. If you haven’t decided who to vote for in the Republican primary for Texas House District 108, let’s review.
The three men seeking to replace Dan Branch — Highland Park High School graduate Court Alley, University Park resident Morgan Meyer, and Park Cities native Chart Westcott — don’t differ much in terms of policy. When they’re asked to detail their positions on a particular issue during forums, the first guy to speak does so, and the other two basically say, “I agree.” So voters will have to base their decision on the candidates’ biographies and resumes.
Each man has at least one “I’m the only candidate in this race who …” statement he can make. Alley, 34, says he’s the only one who owns a small business; he runs Caruth Marketing largely from his home. Meyer, 39, says he’s the only one who won’t need on-the-job training, due to his 15 years of experience as a litigator. He also says he’s the only one with “skin in the game” when it comes to education, because his daughters are enrolled in public school. And Westcott, 28, says he’s the only one who has experience “getting things done in Austin,” because he lobbied legislators on behalf of the National Association to Protect Children and he was appointed to the Texas Real Estate Commission.
I profiled all three in our March edition, and you can download a PDF of that issue on the right side of this page. That edition also includes a page of graphics devoted to the campaigns’ finances. Some people — including some within my company — thought it was a mistake to not include money raised and spent in the first half of 2013 in those graphics. I did it that way because none of these guys officially declared his candidacy until the second half of last year, and Meyer reported zero donations in the first half. But, for the sake of argument, let’s look at the overall totals.
Westcott leads the pack by a mile, with $1.3 million raised, 17 percent of which came from his parents, his brother, or companies his family owns. He’s also spent more than anyone else: $1.2 million when you add up his reports filed to the Texas Ethics Commission on July 15, Jan. 15, Feb. 3, and Feb. 24.
Meyer has raised $383,000, and 8 percent of that came from his law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, and its attorneys. Meyer has spent $368,000, and 39 percent of that went to Allyn Media.
Alley brings up the rear on both fronts. He’s raised $134,000, 10 percent of which came from residents of his wife’s hometown, Conroe. He’s spent $79,000.
Now, it’s up to the voters to decide who will best represent them in the general election, when the winner of today’s primary will face another University Park resident, Democrat Leigh Bailey. I don’t have any idea who will have the most votes when the polls close tonight. I just hope one of these guys somehow secures more than 50 percent of the votes. That means we’ll avoid a runoff, and nothing would make me more happy.