Bexar County voters have likely noticed the deluge of political mailers and other advertisements in the race for Bexar County Judge in the run-up to the March 1 primary election.
That’s because candidates for the county’s top elected seat have spent more than $465,000 combined over the last several weeks, according to the most recent campaign finance reports, which are due eight days before election day.
They are the last reports due before the election.
Among Democratic candidates, state Rep. Ina Minjarez spent the most: $146,167 between Jan 21 and Feb. 19, the period covered by the most recent reports.
Ivalis Meza Gonzalez, former chief of staff to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, came in a close second, spending $142,692, while retired district court judge Peter Sakai spent $129,169.
Gerardo Ponce reported no money raised, spent or on hand in an odd, mid-cycle report submitted on Feb. 14.
Meanwhile, Republican Trish DeBerry continues to vastly out-raise ($151,925) and out-spend ($47,480) her opponent Nathaniel Buchanan, who raised $119 and spent $114.
With $104,397 cash on hand, DeBerry is likely holding onto that war chest for the Nov. 6 election.
The latest campaign finance reports echo the spending habits of the candidates overall during this election cycle. According to the last three reports, Minjarez has spent the most since July of last year, $252,087, while Sakai spent $218,727, Meza Gonzalez spent $159,977, and DeBerry spent $146,001.
Sakai reported the greatest amount of cash on hand in the most recent report with $313,223; Minarez reported $71,964; and Meza Gonzalez reported $34,050.
Prominent attorney and major Democratic donor Mikal Watts contributed $25,000 to DeBerry’s campaign, while his longtime friend and former political strategist Christian Archer appears to be Meza Gonzalez’s largest single donor. Archer is listed by his first name, John, in her campaign finance reports, contributing another $10,000 this month on top of $30,000 in December.
Real estate developers are among the top donors for some candidates. Sakai received $100,000 from the Lynd family of local housing development firm The Lynd Company.
Meza Gonzalez received $10,000 from Atlantic Pacific Communities LLC, a Florida-based real estate company that owns apartment complexes in San Antonio. She also received $7,500 from David Starr and another $2,500 from Matthew Starr of San Antonio-based Vantage Communities.
Minjarez’s two largest donors during this period were her husband, Brooks President and CEO Leo Gomez, and Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, who gave $10,000 each.
Both Minjarez and DeBerry received $5,000 from the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County.
Disclosure: Ina Minjarez’s husband, Leo Gomez, sits on the San Antonio Report’s board of directors.