Edinburg Place 1 candidates collectively raise more than $40K in contributions

TOP: Ismael “Smiley” Martinez and Dan Diaz. BOTTOM: Fern McLaugherty and Gerardo “Gerry” Lozano

In the race to be the next Edinburg city councilmember for Place 1, the four candidates running hauled in more than $40,000 combined with candidate Ismael “Smiley” Martinez leading the pack.

The four candidates filed their campaign finance reports 30 days before the election day on Oct. 4 as required by state law.

Martinez, the owner of an insurance company, received the most of all four candidates with $29,087 in political contributions, according to his campaign finance report.

His report spanned July 16 through Oct. 4, during which Martinez also reported he loaned his campaign $16,626.

Among his contributors were Ramiro and Olga Gutierrez who gave $1,000 to Martinez’s campaign. Ramiro Gutierrez is the president of R. Gutierrez Engineering Corporation in Pharr.

Martinez also received $1,500 from M2 Engineering and several donations of $500 or less from insurance companies, law offices, Cantu’s Pharmacy, and Texas Tidy Cans, a local trash cleaning company.

He also reported $11,133 in political expenditures, however, his report only listed about $3,260 worth of expenses.

Martinez did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.

The expenses that were listed included $750 in advertising-related expenses and $2,255 for a golf tournament.

Following Martinez was Dan Diaz, the owner of an emergency medical services company and a registered nurse with South Texas Health Systems.

From July 1 through Sept. 23, Diaz reported receiving a total of $8,450 in contributions and that he loaned his campaign $15,000.

Among his contributors was PAC Winstead PC, a political action committee for a Dallas-based law firm. They gave $750 to Diaz’s campaign.

He also received $1,500 from Saul Ortega, the chairman and CEO of Texas National Bank and the former chairman and CEO of the now-defunct First National Bank of Edinburg.

Arturo Ortega, the chairman and CEO of Freedom Bank, contributed another $1,000 to Diaz’s campaign.

He reportedly spent $24,694 in political expenditures during that time period and as of the last day of the reporting period, he had $5,173 remaining.

The majority of his expenditures — more than $22,000 — were for advertising-related expenses.

Gerardo “Gerry” Lozano, the owner of Nutx Construction, received $4,000 in political contributions from July 16 through Oct. 4, according to his report. He also reported taking out a $27,000 loan for his campaign.

During that period he reported spending $31,646 in political expenditures.

Of his total expenses, about $9,600 were for consulting services and about $18,500 were spent for advertising expenses.

Fern McLaugherty, a member of the Objective Watchers of the Legal System, or OWLS, reported receiving $200 in political contributions from Aug. 17 through Oct. 4.

During that time, her campaign spent $1,450 in political expenditures which were for advertising-related expenses such as photographs, yard signs business cards and post cards.

As of the last day of the reporting period, she maintained $750.

The four candidates are running to replace current Place 1 Councilmember Jorge “Coach” Salinas, who did not file for reelection.

Election Day is Nov. 2.

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