Candidates for Travis County DA spending heavily as Nov. 8 nears


Republican Maura Phelan plans to spend $22,500 in last few weeks of the district attorney race.

The frontrunner in the race, Democrat Margaret Moore, has raised $168,000, with $46,000 still in hand.

Prepared to make a late spending spree, Travis County district attorney candidate Maura Phelan says she will unload her campaign’s coffers before the Nov. 8 election.

Phelan, a Republican, said she will use all of the remaining $22,509 she had on hand through the end of September. That’s roughly double the $10,908 she spent in the first nine months of 2016, according to her Oct. 11 campaign finance report.

“We’ll spend all of it,” Phelan said. “I’m not holding anything back. We’re going to spend it on getting as many votes as possible. That’s the strategy. To get as many votes as possible and to have more than Margaret at the final count.”

Phelan has raised $51,245 in 2016, according to the report.

Phelan’s opponent, Democrat Margaret Moore, raised $168,716 in the first nine months of 2016 and spent $131,100, according to her finance report. In the latest reporting period, July 1 to Sept. 29, she raised $22,525 and spent $43,477.28. Moore has $46,065 on hand.

The candidates will file another report eight days before the election.

Moore said she will continue to spend through the election, including the cost of mailers she’ll send to voters.

Among big donations to Moore’s campaign was $1,000 given on Aug. 29 by former University of Texas and NFL star running back Earl Campbell and his wife, Reuna. The Campbells live in Austin and are friends of Moore’s. She also got $10,000 from the Beaumont law firm, Reaud & Associates.

Moore spent $16,100 in consulting expenses, according to the report.

Phelan reported two contributions of $1,500. Most of her expenditures were minor. However, she did spend $3,000 for consulting and $2,938 for printing expenses.

Phelan, a former assistant district attorney who now has a civil practice, is the first Republican to run for Travis County district attorney since Shane Phelps in 2000. She ran unopposed in the GOP primary. Phelan, who is attempting to be the first Republican to win the seat in 143 years, believes her path to success includes Austin’s east side, where she says residents are underrepresented.

Moore, an assistant district attorney from 1977 to 1980, came out of retirement and won the Democratic primary in a landslide, upending Gary Cobb and Rick Reed with just under 60 percent of the vote.

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