McALLEN — Early voting is days away and candidates vying to win a spot on the McAllen ISD school board are using a mix of strategies in an effort to fundraise for their campaigns.
Place 3 Incumbent Debbie Crane Aliseda and Place 6 hopeful Sofia Pena have both racked up several thousand dollars in contributions from supporters. In contrast, Crane Aliseda’s opponent Lucia Regalado is largely self-funding the most expensive of the five MISD candidate’s campaigns while Pena’s opponent, Gilda M. Garcia, is running a modest campaign paid for entirely with her own money.
Place 7 incumbent Sam Saldivar Jr., who is running unopposed, is — understandably — running the least aggressive of the five campaigns.
Incumbent Debbie Crane Aliseda, a bookkeeper, raised $4,500 in political contributions between Jan. 13 and March 31, records show.
The largest chunk of that cash was a $1,000 contribution from Barrera, Sanchez & Associates PC, a McAllen law firm.
Smaller contributions flowed in from other sources as well, primarily from the McAllen business community.
Peralez Franz LLP contributed $500 while Millin & Millin provided a $250 contribution — both are law firms in McAllen.
McAllen engineer Reza Badiozzamani gave $250 and B2Z, his firm, contributed another $250. Fellow board trustee and McAllen pharmacist Danny Vela gave Crane Aliseda’s campaign $250.
Former trustee Hilda De Shazo gave $50 and McAllen doctor Joseph M. Caporuss contributed $100, while Myrna Rodriguez of McAllen and self-employed local business owner Irma L. Garza both sent in $500 each.
Socialife RGV, the magazine published by former McAllen Chamber of Commerce chair Sally Fraustro Guerra contributed $900 worth of advertising to the campaign in March.
Despite the healthy war chest, Crane Aliseda hasn’t actually spent much money yet.
Records show she made two payments to a California-based person or business in March totaling $581.92 for yard and street signs, making those payments with personal funds and leaving most of her contributions untouched.
Crane Aliseda’s campaign treasurer is Eva Tavarez of McAllen.
In contrast to Crane Aliseda, attorney Lucia Regalado has accepted $1,136 worth of contributions between Feb. 12 and March 22.
That contribution was non-monetary and came in the form of sand bags from Mission company VMK Materials’ president Victor Garza.
So far the rest of the campaign — by far the most expensive and most aggressive of the district’s candidates — has been paid through loans, mostly from herself.
As of March 22, Regalado’s campaign had spent $16,474.25.
The lion’s share of that money, $6,862.51, went to Brand Boosters Co. in McAllen in two payments to buy campaign materials and signs.
The campaign paid $2,418.11 to Los Pinos Hardware in Edinburg for sign materials, another $51.35 for sign equipment from Lowe’s, $614.28 worth of event supplies from Costco and $200 to Brand Pix for a campaign video.
Arena Analytics in Edinburg was hired by the campaign and paid $1,500 for a get out the vote effort while Jeff Butler of Corpus Christi was paid $1,050 to serve as a campaign consultant.
At the end of the reporting period the campaign still owed $650 to Brand Pix for another campaign video and $3,128 for canvassing performed by Area Analytics.
Records show that loans from Regalado to her campaign totaled $9,713.86 while loans totaling $3,032.39 came from Armando Regalado, who co-owns Collision Center Auto Body & Glass in McAllen with Lucia.
Regalado’s campaign treasurer is Andrea Munoz of McAllen.
In the race for the undefended seat, Sofia Pena is outspending her opponent Gilda M. Garcia almost 3-1.
Garcia, a former educator who is currently self-employed, opted to run a relatively modest campaign. She does not intend to accept more than $930 in political contributions and is her own campaign treasurer.
As of March 24, Garcia reported $1,500 in political expenditures, all from personal funds.
In contrast, Pena, the current executive director of the Capable Kids Foundation in McAllen, had drummed up $6,354.82 in financial support from a variety of quarters between Jan. 15 and April 1.
Her largest contribution is a $2,500 donation from Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP, an Austin-based government receivable law firm with a large footprint in the Rio Grande Valley and a habit of funneling sizable chunks of money into local elections.
Pena’s next highest contribution, $1,979.82, came from Annette Diaz Franz of Pharr, wife of former Hidalgo Mayor David Franz.
Notably, Pena also received $500 from Texas Democratic Party Chair and Brownsville attorney Gilberto Hinojosa and his wife Cyndi.
Other contributions included $750 from Ruth Garza of McAllen, $250 from Mission educator Velma Garza, $200 from McAllen attorney Greg Turley, $100 from retired educator Juanita Chapa of Mission, $50 from retired STC professor Diane Teter and $25 from STC professor Robert Kennedy of McAllen.
Pena has spent $4,161.21 of that money as of the first.
The majority of that money went toward creating and erecting political signage. Pena paid National Printing of McAllen $1,979.82 for political sign printing and setup, along with payments totaling $235.39 for purchases related to signage supplies and setup.
Two other purchases round out Pena’s spending. In March she contributed $300 to sponsor a table at a Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas event in the Valley. She also paid $145 for a Texas Democratic Party Voter Activation Network access ID, allowing her to access an online database with information on voters.
Pena’s campaign treasurer is John Ball of McAllen.
Incumbent Sam Saldivar Jr. is conducting the least aggressive campaign, at least financially.
Between Jan. 1 and March 22 Saldivar received $422.11 in total political contributions.
A non-monetary contribution, that support came from Linebarger in the form of framing and placing political signs.
The campaign also paid $450 to Sal’s Vinyl Grafx in Pharr for campaign signs using political contributions and maintained $872.80 in political contributions as of the last day of the reporting period.