HOUSTON — Texas conservatives will forever hold a special place in their hearts for 2003. Republicans took control of the Legislature that year, cut state spending and restricted jury awards in lawsuits.
But 2003 made Steve Mostyn angry. The Houston trial lawyer looked at how the new regime approached state government and saw children losing state-funded health insurance, college tuition increasing and, yes, barriers at the courthouse.
"It burned a hole in me pretty deep," Mostyn said.
Mostyn has responded in the years since by giving money to Democratic candidates. And giving and giving. In the past couple of election cycles, Mostyn (pronounced MOSS-tin) and his wife, Amber Anderson Mostyn, have become perhaps the most important donors in the Texas Democratic Party.
Already this year, the couple and their law firm have contributed more than $2 million to candidates and political groups, mostly to Democrats. The Mostyns, both 39, have quickly joined a handful of Democratic donors, usually trial lawyers, who can step into a legislative race and match business interests on the Republican side dollar-for-dollar.
This year, for the first time, they are heavily engaged in the governor's race as well. Mostyn said he has put more than
$1 million into a new political action committee named Back to Basics , which has pestered Gov. Rick Perry with two television ads in the past month. The Mostyns gave more than $500,000 to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White or the Democratic Governors Association, a national group helping White, and Anderson Mostyn will soon launch a group that she says will back candidates based on their support for public education.
What a waste of money...