Usual Suspects Bankrolling GOP Primary Campaigns

Friends with money giveth to Perry and Hutchison

And they're off! The first major campaign finance reports of the 2010 campaign season were released last week, with the biggest attention going to the clash of the titans in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

The leader, at least in terms of money, is the challenger U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutch­ison, who took in $6.7 million in the first half of 2009, spent almost $1.9 million, and still has $12.5 million on hand. Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry trails nearly $3 million behind but was hobbled by laws preventing him from accepting campaign contributions during the legislative session. He made up ground quickly, though – with all of his contributions coming in the last week of June, he racked up $4.2 million. After spending $1.3 million, he sits on a war chest of almost $9.4 million.

Unlike federal races, where individuals are limited to $2,400 per election, state races have no limit to campaign contributions. Perry had eight individuals drop $100,000 or more into his coffers, topped by Houston's Mica Mosbacher (wife of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher Sr.) at $225,000. Hutchison did even better, with 12 topping the $100K mark, led by Houston's Nancy Kinder – former personal assistant to Enron's Ken Lay, wife of energy mogul Richard Kinder, and president of a charitable foundation – at $106,681.

Other high-profile names spotted on the contribution reports: For Perry, auto dealer Red McCombs ($100,000), homebuilder Bob Perry ($100,000), radio executives Steve Hicks and Lowry Mays ($50,000 each), New Orleans mining and real estate magnate (and during the Barton Creek wars of the 1990s, possibly the most hated man in Austin) Jim Bob Moffett ($50,000), insurance executive Fred Loya ($25,000), and as always, ultraconservative political moneyman Dr. James Leininger ($25,000). For Hutchison, we spotted computer exec and former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot ($52,500); former UT regent, oilman, and Bush Pioneer Louis Beecherl ($50,000); and Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane ($100,000). Another sports CEO, the Houston Texans' Robert McNair, apparently chose to play it safe by giving $25,000 to both candidates.

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governor's race, Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison

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