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Big money This year’s Warbucks Prize goes to Dolph Briscoe, the man who plunked down nearly $3 million in the Democratic primary trying to get a four-year lease on a mansion that only cost $17,500 to build and furnish 122 years ago. Briscoe’s gubernatorial bid was the most expensive campaign in Texas history, doubling the previous high in a primary and almost equaling the total cash outlay of all gubernatorial candidates in both the primary and general elections of 1974. Butter & egg money Texas’ most cost-efficient vote-getter is Jerry Sadler, the 70-year-old snuff dipper who has been running for office so regularly since 1938 that people wouldn’t think it’s a real election without his name on the ballot. He gets more out of less than anyone around, making it infuriating to run against him. Sadler’s widely-recognized name did it for him again in this year’s Railroad Commission race, drawing 574,000 votes on a campaign costing all of $3,197half-a-cent each. If you want your son to go into politics, think seriously about changing his name to Sam Houston Sadler. Dullest candidate Bill Hobby takes the prize, though not without strong competition from Mark White, who has all the pizzazz of canned ravioli. Hobby, who has been lieutenant governor since 1973 and doesn’t have a lot to show for it, based his primary campaign on the job he has done to establish zerobased budgeting and program auditing in state government. It’s this kind of sparkle that has earned him the sobriquet “Thrill-aminute Bill.” Fast money Bill Clements was not the biggest spender of 1978, but he was far and away the wildest. He acted like a rich teenager turned loose on the state fair midway for the first time, unable to spend his money fast enough. In the end, he shelled out some $2 million to win 84,000 Republican votes. That figures out to $23.80 apiece, which ought to qualify Clements for the Guinness Book of Records, if not the state institution at Terrell. Most modest campaign Donald Ray Beagle, who owns a Nederland welding business and once was a professional boxer, ran for governor without a staff, without a campaign headquarters, without a media budget andthis is the last strawwith an unlisted telephone number. All of which says a lot for him. Most innovative candidate John Hill Westbrook, the former Baylor University football star who waged a vigorous butalaslargely unnoticed campaign for Bill Hobby’s job, came up with all kinds of clever ways to stretch his paltry campaign He and his campaign aides covered some 40,000 miles of Texas highways and backroads in a camper, and they literally lived off the fat of the land. Westbrook was well thought of by Hill, Daniel, Krueger and some of the other better-heeled candidates, and whenever possible, the would-be lieutenant governor was allowed to piggy-back on their eventshe and his staff would eat their buffet snacks, work their crowds and even get a cordial introduction from the host candidates themselves. Thank you, Jesus! The coveted Splinterfrom-the-Cross citation for sheer gall in fundraising goes to Warren G. Harding, the establishment state treasurer candidate who, in a meeting with San Antonio bankers, thrust his aims into the air, asked the bankers to bow their heads, and in all seriousness called upon the Lord to loosen the pocketbooks of his audience. I hear you calling Perry Ellis, an evangelist running for Congress in the 11th district, brought his proselytiling experience to bear on hit; race by installing a dial-a-speech phone message device in his office for the mildly curious who wanted to hear what he had to say, but didn’t want to go out of their way to listen. Most blessed If it is blessed to give, the Acme Fund, which is the political action committee of Houston’ s Baker & Botts law firm, is blessed.many times over. The lawyers seem to be for everyone this year and spread their wealth accordingly. In the governor’s race, Acme gave $5,000 to both Briscoe and Hill, $1,000 to Hutchison, $2,000 to each of the three major AG candidates. So much for having the courage of one’s convictions. Absolutely the worst reason ever given by a candidate running for any office, anywhere You would guess that agriculture commissioner Reagan Brown, Briscoe’s 1977 appointee to replace John White, would he the likely one to have come up with this, and you would be right. He said that he had to run and win because anything less would “put all our employees \(at the agriculture departi.e., finding