U.S. Senate candidates to debate in AustinJanuary 11th, 2012 at 1:54 pm by Josh Hinkle under Politics
For the first time, the top three Texas GOP candidates for U.S. Senate will show off their debating skills together. On Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Downtown Austin Hilton, Empower Texans and the Texas Public Policy Foundation will hold the first such debate of 2012. You can watch the debate live at www.empowertexans.com.
In an effort to take the seat Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is leaving behind, that trio plus two other confirmed candidates will take the stage. With so many people in the mix, it is very possible no candidate will receive a majority of the vote, and a runoff will likely be necessary between the top two.
He is one of the wealthiest people in Texas politics and currently holds the state’s second highest elected office. As lieutenant governor, his name recognition and money have pushed him to the front of this race, not to mention a recent high-profile endorsement by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. His campaign also points out that he, along with other candidates, will take part in a March 2 debate in Dallas hosted by WFAA.
- Individual Contributions: $2,456,934
- Candidate Loans: $2,000,000
The former Solicitor General of Texas has become a Tea Party favorite and grabbed noteworthy endorsements by several big-name conservatives like Dr. James Dobson, Sen. Jim DeMint, and Sen. Rand Paul, not to mention conservative organizations like National Review and Red State. Also on his side – the recognition he has after arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, including one case where he defeated the Obama administration.
- Individual Contributions: $2,753,833
- Candidate Loans: $70,000
He is the former mayor of Dallas, which brings a great deal of attention to his candidacy from that area of the state. Leppert also has a great deal of personal money to spend out on the trail, but he has yet to catch up to Cruz and Dewhurst as one of the top competitors in this race.
- Individual Contributions: $2,462,297
- Candidates Loans $2,600,000
While Cruz and Dewhurst have taken center stage, beyond Leppert there are other candidates to watch in this race. Those also attending the debate include:
He arrived late in the race just last month but has plenty of face recognition. He is a former Southern Methodist University football star and later a professional player with the New England Patriots of the National Football League and the Washington Federals of the United States Football League. Most recently, he is often seen on ESPN as a sports analyst.
He and his wife own a few funeral homes and cemeteries in the Houston area. He resigned from the Magnolia Independent School District board last month to devote more time to his campaign, though he has yet to gain much attention or money.