Barry Johnson, Republican challenger for McLennan County District Attorney, has raised more money than any other local candidate this campaign season, but incumbent DA Abel Reyna, also a Republican, still has by far the biggest campaign fund to draw from.

Candidates in March 6 primary contests for the November general election submitted reports last week detailing how much each campaign donor has given and how candidates have spent their money. One more round of campaign finance reports will be due 8 days before the primary.

Early voting for the primaries runs Feb. 20 through March 2. Anyone not already registered will not be able to vote in the primary, but has time to register before the November general election and the May election for local nonpartisan city council and school board races.

District attorney

Johnson or Reyna will face Democrat Seth Sutton, of Waco, and Independent Daniel Hare, of Hewitt, in the November general election.

Johnson raised almost $39,000 in political contributions between Nov. 9 and Jan. 25 and spent almost $13,000 during that time, according to his report.

Reyna raised more than $19,000 since July 1 and spent more than $25,000. But he has more than $100,000 remaining in his campaign fund.

Since Hare and Sutton are not in primary contests, their latest reports end Dec. 31.

Sutton raised $3,350 and did not spend any between Dec. 12 and Dec. 31. Hare received no contributions and spent more than $140 between Dec. 8 and Dec. 31, according to their reports.

Precinct 2 county commissioner

The Republican primary will feature three candidates, and the Democratic primary will feature two candidates vying for the Precinct 2 county commissioner nomination for the seat Lester Gibson is leaving after almost three decades in office. Gibson has long been the only Democrat on the commissioners court.

Republican Donis “D.L.” Wilson, of Mart, continues to raise the most political contributions in the race. Since August 23, he has raised $16,275 and spent more than $14,000.

Democrat Patricia “Pat” Chisolm-Miller, of Waco, has raised the next highest amount. Chisolm-Miller has received $4,337 since Oct. 2. and spent almost $4,500.

Republican Gina Ford, of Axtell, has received $3,050 and spent almost $5,900 since June 1, according her reports.

Republican Vernon Davis, of Waco, has received no contributions and spent more than $10,000 since Dec. 11.

Democrat Norman Manning, of Waco, has received more than $3,000 and spent more than $2,700 since Oct. 2.

Precinct 4 county commissioner

Two Republicans will face off in the March primary for the Precinct 4 county commissioner seat. Mel Priest, of Waco, is challenging incumbent Ben Perry, of Waco.

Priest raised almost $4,800 and spent more than $4,400 between Oct. 2 and Jan. 25, according to his reports.

Perry raised a little more than $20,000 and spent more than $3,200 between July 1 and Jan. 1, according to his reports.

County judge

Incumbent Scott Felton will not face a Republican primary challenger for his seat on the commissioners court, but a Libertarian and a Democrat have filed to run against him in November.

Felton received no contributions and spent almost $2,800 between July 15 and Dec. 31, according to his most recent report.

Since there is no primary contest, the last report due for county judge candidates covered a portion of last year.

Libertarian George Horsley did not raise or spend any campaign money, according to his report.

Democrat Rick Allen did not file an original campaign finance report. Allen, a former member of the Waco City Council, said he did not know he was supposed to file a report. He said he has not yet started campaigning and has not raised any money. His only spending has been on his filing fee, Allen said.

Even if a candidate has not spent or received any money, they are required to complete a campaign finance report, said Ian Steusloff, Texas Ethics Commission general counsel. Nothing automatically happens if a candidate does not file a report.

“The Texas Ethics Commission has the authority to enforce filing requirements for local candidates as well as state candidates,” Steusloff said. “That is done through a complaint process where a resident of the state could file a complaint with the commission, alleging candidates are not filing reports as required.”

The commission has the discretion to asses a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for any violation. Not filing a campaign finance report is also a misdemeanor criminal offense that would be enforced by prosecutors, Steusloff said.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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