What do campaign finance reports show?

HARLINGEN — Their faces are plastered on signs all over the city and county.

Now, with only five days until the start of early voting, the Cameron County Judge’s race finance reports are available to show who’s raised the most money and where it’s come from.

The latest report details the contributions, expenditures, campaign fund and outstanding loans for one month prior to the Primary election on March 1. This is one race that appears to have captured significant interest and one candidate has outraised his opponents quickly and easily.

Current Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez is leading the trio of hopefuls for the county’s top office from a standpoint of who has the most money.

In one month’s time, Sanchez supporters contributed $63,850 to fund his campaign for county judge.

Eddie Trevino, a former Brownsville mayor, pulled in $3,300 in contributions.

Elizabeth Garza, a Brownsville attorney, has zero contributions.

“I don’t have the money or the name recognition,” Garza said.

But, she was quick to point out that signs don’t vote and she has met people who have spent thousands on campaigns and still lost.

Sanchez is banking on that not happening.

“I feel great about my campaign,” Sanchez said yesterday. “This is my fifth time running for public office.”

Sanchez noted he has more than 600 volunteers who have contributed to what he called his “grassroots” campaign, one way or another to help him reach out to the voters with a personal touch.

“In order to run an effective campaign, you need to spend a good amount of money,” Sanchez said. “You need to raise it by reaching out to your supporters, family, friends or you can just go out and get a loan.”

Sanchez’s campaign reports show contributions from contractors, developers, engineers, attorneys, judges, Hidalgo County commissioners and consultants. Many of the contributors are from McAllen and Mission. One, who listed themselves as an engineer even has an address in Houston.

His contributions started at the minimum of $100 and go up to $5,000 mulitple times.

Sanchez received three $5,000, six $2,500 and 16 $1,000 campaign contributions.

He has expended more than $18,040 of those contributions.

Multiple attempts were made to contact Trevino about his campaign report.

Trevino’s showed he had collected $3,300 in contributions. He spent $48,698 and ended the month with $4,017 going into the election.

Trevino also listed an outstanding loan to his campaign totaling $100,000.

“When people contribute to my campaign it’s a testament of what they believe as their candidate for public office,” Sanchez said. “I think what they see is a public servant who is committed and they know by supporting me they are going to have someone who is serving the county well.”

Garza said the courthouse is like high school and when she heard only Sanchez and Trevino were running, she wanted to give the voters another choice.

Garza has never held an elected position but she said she is spending a lot of time block walking and with her volunteers.

“I feel exhausted, but it’s been an awesome experience,” Garza said. “I feel good about what my campaign has done and I have received nothing but positive responses.”