Empower Texans Loses Big on Election Night

The trend of Empower Texans’ influence at the Texas Capitol dwindling continues.

The trend of Empower Texans’ influence at the Texas Capitol dwindling continues.


Illustration/Sunny Sone

Empower Texans, the aggressively reactionary group funded by oil and gas barons Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, wasted a lot of money this year.

On Tuesday, the group ate dust in nearly every competitive race it pumped money into since the primaries, including the five races it invested in most heavily. Incumbent state Senator Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, was dethroned by Beverly Powell — vaporizing $360,000 in Empower cash given since May. Burton was joined in defeat by two other North Texas incumbents: state Representative Matt Rinaldi and state Senator Don Huffines, whose losses torched a combined $350,000. Newcomers Jonathan Boos and Deanna Maria Metzger also bungled state House bids, flushing another $240,000 down the drain.

Those figures don’t even include Empower money spent during the primaries, which were also unkind to the group. Ultimately, the trend of Empower Texans’ influence at the Capitol dwindling continues. Here’s the list:

  • Konni Burton ($360K) — SD 10 — Loss
  • Matt Rinaldi ($200K) — HD 115 — Loss
  • Don Huffines ($150K) — SD 16 — Loss
  • Jonathan Boos ($130K) — HD 113 — Loss
  • Deanna Maria Metzger ($110K) HD 107 — Loss
  • Dan Patrick ($75K) — Lieutenant Governor — Win
  • Michael Toth ($50K)— 3rd Court of Appeals — Loss
  • Matt Shaheen ($45K) — HD 66 — ?
  • Lisa Luby Ryan ($10K) — HD 114 — Loss
  • Steve Toth ($5K) — HD 15 — Win
  • James Pikl ($5K) — 5th Court of Appeals – Loss
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Gus Bova reports on immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border and grassroots movements for the Observer. He formerly worked at a shelter for asylum-seekers and refugees. You can contact him at [email protected]


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