Left: Matt Schaefer, Texas State Representative, speaks at the Grassroots America – We the People's Northeast Texas Conservative Superstars 2018 Primary Election Kick-off held on Saturday Jan. 27, 2018 at Rio Neches Cattle Company in Tyler, Texas. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Right: Neal Katz speaks at his campaign kickoff event at the Tyler Rose Garden Center in Tyler, Texas, on Monday, March 19, 2018. (Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

A political newcomer running as an independent outraised a three-term incumbent and the chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus in the latest campaign finance reporting period.

Rabbi Neal Katz raised $58,654 in the latest campaign finance period, while Schaefer raised $9,878 from Feb. 25 to June 30, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission on July 16.

Katz's fundraising was from Jan. 1 through June 30, while Schaefer's was from Feb. 25 to June 30. The exact filing periods are different because of the Texas Ethics Commission's filing requirements during a primary race. 

Katz also outspent Schaefer during the filing period by a 2-to-1 margin, $52,717 to $26,284, according to the filings. He now has a small advantage to Schaefer in cash on hand, $12,404 to $7,231.

The two are running for the District 6 seat in the Texas House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 election. The seat represents most of Smith County in the Texas Legislature, which meets every other year in Austin.

Katz, who leads services at Congregation Beth El in Tyler, has never held political office and is running as an independent. Schaefer, an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves who also works in the real estate industry, was elected to the seat in 2012.

“I think what it indicates is that Matt Schaefer feels pretty good about his re-election chances and isn’t at all worried about it because, were he worried, he would be out fundraising,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

“The fact that he has a small amount of campaign donations suggests that he has not been seeking donations over the past few months,” Jones said. “He, as well as most observers, believe he is a sure thing to win to be re-elected.

“You’re not going to go out and ask donors for money, especially when there are dozens of Republicans not only across the state but across the country who are in very tight races and need every dollar to win,” Jones said.

State Rep. Matt Schaefer announces bid for fourth term serving Texas House District 6

State Rep. Matt Schaefer speaks during his campaign kick-off and fundraiser in Tyler, Texas, on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Representatives of Grassroots America, Texas Right to Life, Texas Eagle Forum, Empower Texans, Texas Home School Coalition, Gun Owners of America, and Texans for Vaccine Choice were in attendance. (Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Nonetheless, Schaefer and Katz both say that the race is barely getting started. Both candidates say they plan to do more fundraising in the fall. The next campaign finance filing deadline is Oct. 9.

“I’m energized,” Katz said in an interview. “We know that this is going to be an expensive race, and there’s just a lot of community energy behind it, and I’m very happy.”

Katz received his donations from 185 individuals plus himself. Schaefer received money from 42 individuals and three entities: the Smith County Republican Women, the Texas Dental Hygienist Association PAC, and the Texas Ophthalmological Association PAC.

Katz received $3,264 from people living in other states, but he said 90 percent of his donations came from people inside District 6. All of Schaefer’s money came from individuals or entities in Texas, according to the campaign finance filing.

“We haven’t geared up for fundraising for this fall, so it’s not really a reflection of what’s going to happen this fall,” Schaefer said. “We’re going to get out and talk about our message. I’m working with Gov. (Greg) Abbott to build a better Texas.”

Schaefer said Katz leans too far to the left for Smith County voters to support him.

“Look at the conservative results that have been happening in the state of Texas,” he said. “I want to keep us building in the state of Texas. We’ve got challenges in this state, but to turn hard left is not the direction that most voters in Smith County want to go.”

Meanwhile, Katz said he is running to serve the community and chose to run without a political party. He said he was asked to run in the Republican primary against Schaefer in March but turned the request down.

Katz’s expenditures also show him engaging minority communities, which historically have low voter turnout numbers. He spent money on advertising in a local NAACP newsletter and paid a consultant to translate his campaign materials into Spanish.

“There’s an argument that because those minority communities have low voter turnout or don’t vote strong that you stay away from them,” he said. “I’m doing the exact opposite, which is to say it’s possible they’ve never had someone to vote for. Nobody’s ever asked them.”

In addition to the NAACP advertising, Katz said he held a lunch event with about 25 leaders in the African American community during the campaign, and he said he is the only statewide candidate in East Texas with campaign materials available in Spanish.

“You can sit there and wring your hands over the nonvoting African-American community,” Katz said, “but if I win, then they’re my neighbors and I need their voices, too, and I need to make sure that my campaign is respectful of that.”


Neal Katz chats during a luncheon for the Tyler Economic Development Corporation's 29th annual meeting at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Schaefer criticized Katz’s position on the board of directors for the Texas Freedom Network, a statewide organization based in Austin that has a mission of promoting religious freedom, individual liberties and public education.

“Rejecting Republicans isn’t a way to be effective in representing citizens in Smith County,” Schaefer said. “Leading a far-left political group isn’t a way to be effective in representing our community.”

Both candidates also say they would be the more effective candidate.

“I think Matt’s proven what he’s incapable of doing, and I think even Republicans know that,” Katz said. “I’m running because we have ineffective representation in Austin, and it’s time to fire Matt.”

Schaefer responded: “If he were to be elected to the Texas House, Democrats won’t trust him, and Republicans won’t come near him. How is that going to be effective?” He added, "I don't know how you can be effective if you don’t have a seat at the table in Texas government." 

Despite the strong fundraising during the past few months, Jones said Katz faces an uphill fight to be competitive in November. That’s because Texas allows straight-ticket voting that lets Texans mark their ballots quickly to vote for all Republicans or all Democrats on the ticket, and no independents, he said.

Jones said Schaefer has connections to PACs across Texas, such as the Empower Texans PAC, which gave Schaefer $25,000 during the primary season to help him fend off a challenge from former state Rep. Ted Kamel.

“If he felt threatened, he could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars without too much trouble,” Jones said.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Neal Katz Campaign Spending - July 16, 2018 Filing

Company Amount ($) Category
1836 Texas Kitchen 1183 Food
All American Party 139 Event
Juan Arellano 100 Consulting
Ashcraft, Rachel 320 Advertising
At Home 43 Overhead
BannersOnTheCheap.com 62 Advertising
Capitol City Research 500 Consulting
Checks Unlimited 24 Printing
City of Tyler 155 Event
Danwal Inc. 732 Printing
Dominos Pizza 60 Food
Donna Cummings Photography 433 Advertising
East Texas Brewing Co. 426 Food
East Texas Peace Officers Association 350 Advertising
Facebook 190 Advertising
Fedex Office 47 Printing
Flowers Davis, P.L.L.C. 339 Legal
Shemonica Garrett 75 Overhead
Genecov Corporation 6741 Overhead
GoDaddy 26 Overhead
Helping Hands 220 Event
Home Depot 125 Overhead
Jack's Catering 468 Food
Jason's Deli 495 Food
Juneteenth Assoc. of Tyler 15 Donation
Amy Lively 5000 Consulting
Loose Thread 200 Event
Name Badges, Inc. 55 Advertising
Nation Builder 354 Advertising
Office Max 104 Overhead
One Moore Production 50 Advertising
Evan Payne 200 Event
Potpourri House 320 Food
PrintPlace.com 986 Printing
Project Progress 100 Advertising
Ray & Wood Law Firm 5353 Legal
Ridiculously Good Branding & Thread Co LLC 950 Advertising
Robert E. Lee Band Parents Association 250 Advertising
South Tyler Rotary Foundation 200 Advertising
SPV Events Consulting 300 Event
Stanley's Barbecue 541 Food
Suddenlink Communications 610 Overhead
TXU Energy 650 Overhead
Tyler Smith County NAACP 130 Advertising
Upward Strategy Group 20500 Consulting
US Post Office 546 Overhead
Jacob Walker 1446 Advertising
Wally's Party Supply 48 Event
WebEdge Marketing Pty Ltd 195 Overhead
Worley Printing 364 Printing

Matt Schaefer Campaign Expenses - July 16, 2018 Filing

Payee Amount ($) Category
1st Class Design 243.57 Advertising
Alisha Jackson 2000 Salaries
AT&T 205.86 Overhead
Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel 70 Travel
Broadway Plaza LTD 852.2 Overhead
Edward Shack 1360 Legal
Eventbrite, Inc 60 Event
Facebook, Inc 1127.02 Advertising
John Moore 50 Advertising
Kaitlin Tifft 2550 Salaries
Lowes 129.12 Advertising
Macias Strategies 2000 Consulting
Matt Rinaldi Campaign 1000 Donation
Matt Schaefer 10038.38 Loan
Menger Hotel 580.35 Travel
Patriot Academy 100 Donation
Republic Ice House 250.4 Food
Suddenlink Media 3054 Advertising
USPS Tyler Azalea Station 70 Overhead
Whitehouse Chamber of Commerce 175 Event

Neal Katz Campaign Donors - July 16, 2018 Filing

Name Type Amount ($) Location
Aaron Edelheit Individual 180 Santa Barbara, CA
Alesha Buckner Individual 50 Flint, TX
Allison Cambre Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Amy Lively Individual 525 Tyler, TX
Anderson Richard Individual 100 Marshall, TX
Ann Lois Ballon Individual 100 Owens Cross Roads, AL
Anthony David Individual 100 Bullard, TX
Arnold Wharton Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Arthur Brown Individual 25 Kissimmee, FL
Aubrey Monlezun Individual 50 Dallas, TX
Aubrey Sharpe Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Babin Kathy Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Banta Rochelle Individual 25 Chevy Chase, MD
Barbara Shtofman Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Barron Gay Individual 500 Whitehouse, TX
Bob Dyer Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Bob Westbrook Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Bobbye Levy Individual 50 Little Rock, AR
Brad Root Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Brenda Corley Individual 25 Whitehouse, TX
Brett Harrison Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Brian Dufour Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Buck Files Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Cabell James Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Carole Kronenberg Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Carroll Otis Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Cathy Burleson Individual 50 Edgewood, TX
Celia Bunt Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Chad Humphries Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Chris Cochran Individual 60 Tyler, TX
Christopher Abraham Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Chuck Cowan Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Clay White Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Cynthia Sprayberry Individual 45 Tyler, TX
Daniel Brown Individual 50 Hilo, HI
Daniel Friedman Individual 100 Tyler, TX
David Brown Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Daye Collins Individual 250 Tyler, TX
DeAnne Blackwell Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Deborah Race Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Debra Winegarten Individual 360 Austin, TX
Dennis Cullinane Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Derrith Bondurant Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Diane Kavanaugh Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Donna Metke Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Dorothy Brown-Freiman Individual 100 Toms River, NJ
Dubre Vandy Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Edwin Duncan Individual 75 Tyler, TX
Elicia Eckert Individual 350 Tyler, TX
Elizabeth Smith Ellis Individual 450 Tyler, TX
Ellen Brewer Individual 100 Reston, VA
Ellen Meyer Individual 100 Wilmington, DE
Ellen Musselman Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Erickson Jeffrey Individual 250 Takoma Park, MD
Evelyn Cheatham Individual 45 Tyler, TX
George Fryer Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Ginger Cardwell Individual 25 Whitehouse, TX
Ginny Harleston Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Greg Grubb Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Griff Hubbard Individual 250 Longview, TX
Heidi Coretz Individual 100 Dallas, TX
J. Banner Individual 100 Gladewater, TX
Jack Harris Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Jack Wilson Individual 250 Hideaway, TX
Jamal Moharer Individual 250 Tyler, TX
James Harris Individual 1000 Virginia Beach, VA
James Kessler Individual 100 Galveston, TX
James Noble Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Janee McGoff Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Janice Carter Individual 25 Moyock, NC
Janice Schwarz Individual 25 Dallas, TX
Jean Harris Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Jeff Austin Individual 1000 Jacksonville, TX
Jeffrey Gottesman Individual 50 Murchison, TX
Jerry Bain Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Jesse Acosta Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Jessica Richardson Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Jim Kolker Individual 250 Bryn Mawr, PA
Jo Lynn Cooper Individual 150 Tyler, TX
Jodi Brock Individual 50 Tyler, TX
John Gribble Individual 250 Tyler, TX
John Lipscombe Individual 100 Austin, TX
John Trube Individual 225 Tyler, TX
Jon Ledlie Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Jonathan Katz Individual 200 Sarasota, FL
Jordan Byrd Individual 25 Palestine, TX
Josh Banta Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Joshua Kaufman Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Karyn Hacker Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Kenneth Cobb Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Khalifa Soumaya Individual 50 Smyrna, GA
Kim Beckham Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Kogutt Jeff Individual 15 Dallas, TX
Ladawn Fletcher Individual 25 Missouri City, TX
Larry Wiertz Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Laub-Zatcoff Susan Individual 18 Richmond, VA
Laura Corbett Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Laurie Barham Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Leonard Decarlo Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Leslie Brown Individual 25 Kissimmee, FL
Leslie Klieger Individual 36 Fanwood, NJ
Levy Gene Individual 50 Little Rock, AR
Linda Resnik Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Linehan Mary Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Lisa Lujan Individual 8250 Tyler, TX
Lisner Chuck Individual 100 Pensacola, FL
Margie Victor Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Marian Weaver Individual 25 Bisbee, AZ
Marilyn Glass Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Marjorie Ream Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Martin Muntz Individual 11550 Tyler, TX
Mary K Peltier Individual 500 Tyler, TX
MaryMargaret Ryder Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Janee McGoff Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Melissa Briscoe Individual 50 Whitehouse, TX
Melissa Decarlo Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Michael Allen Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Michael Gross Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Michael Jarrett Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Milner Lilyan Individual 100 Kilgore, TX
Myka Berkson Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Nancy Lamar Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Neal Katz Individual 1500 Tyler, TX
Neal Katz Individual 40 Tyler, TX
O.L. Gilbert Individual 200 Boynton Beach, FL
Owen Rebecca Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Patricia Terrell Individual 125 Tyler, TX
Patrick Thurmond Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Patty Steelman Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Paul Andrews Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Paul Pitts Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Paul Wick Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Paula Jackson Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Precia Graham Individual 20 Mabank, TX
Rathbone Andrea Individual 25 Flint, TX
Rebecca Owen Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Resnik Linda Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Richard York Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Rita Fryer Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Robert Friedman Individual 100 Bellaire, TX
Roberts Steve Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Robin Insalaco Individual 1000 Tyler, TX
Ron Gleason Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Ron Schoenbrun Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Ross Sherman Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Ruth Martinez Individual 25 Lubbock, TX
Sally Smith Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Sanford Fagg Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Shana Goldstein Mackler Individual 100 Nashville, TN
Shannon Dacus Individual 1000 Ben Wheeler, TX
Sharff Benjamin Individual 50 Valley Cottage, NY
Shepperd Beth Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Sherry Skorkowsky Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Shipp Cathy Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Shumaker Eleanor Individual 100 Fairfax, VA
Solomon Michael Individual 100 Austin, TX
Stacy Beyer Individual 50 Nashville, TN
Steve Duffey Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Steve Fisch Individual 100 Plano, TX
Steve Higgbotham Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Steve Hillis Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Steve Roberts Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Stuart Baskin Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Sue Lander Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Susan Katz Individual 50 Virginia Beach, VA
Susan Keener Individual 100 Longview, TX
Susan Oravetz Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Suzanne Benson Individual 15 San Antonio, TX
Suzanne Myers Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Swain Colleen Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Switsky Tana Individual 100 Bullard, TX
Tammy Burnette Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Tapley Martha Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Ted Paup Individual 100 Fort Worth, TX
Terry Combs Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Thomas Dewitt Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Tolmasoff Dale Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Tom Hargrove Individual 400 Tyler, TX
Toni Ferrell Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Tracy Lisner Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Twinkle Duncan Individual 75 Tyler, TX
Valorie Hedrick Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Verma Vikas Individual 5 Merrill, WI
Vernau Mary Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Watterston Shirley Individual 40 Nacogdoches, TX
Zeid Yasser Individual 1000 Longview, TX

Matt Schaefer Campaign Donors - July 16, 2018 Filing

Name Type Amount ($) City, State
April Mahfood Individual 100 Austin, TX
Brad and Janel Merritt Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Carl & Carole Hodges Individual 50 Arlington, TX
Clarence Stephan Individual 350 Irving, TX
Dane Smith Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Daniel and Paulette Johnson Individual 50 Coyanosa, TX
David Lasser Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Dean Nichols Individual 100 Frankston, TX
Denny and Nancy Kennedy Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Don and Sally Rohde Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Edgar L. & Jo Helen McGee Individual 200 Tyler, TX
Elizabeth Sutton Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Ernest & Della Clark Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Freddie & Laura Geese Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Gene Moody Individual 50 Flint, TX
George Harvey Individual 100 Tyler, TX
H Apley Individual 10 Flint, TX
H. Don & Betty Ann Smith Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Herman & Pat Cryer Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Ivor and Kathryn McKeown Individual 50 Tyler, TX
James Perkins Individual 500 Tyler, TX
Janet Booth Individual 250 Bullard, TX
Jason Wright Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Joe McMahan Individual 250 Winona, TX
Joe & Betty McMahan Individual 100 Tyler, TX
John Adams Individual 25 Bullard, TX
Kenneth Depew Individual 18.36 Tyler, TX
Kenneth Threlkeld Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Kent & Theresa Nicholson Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Lauretta & Glen Underwood Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Marcia Johnson Individual 25 Flint, TX
Max & Toni Anderson Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Neal & Stephanie Vasso Individual 300 Tyler, TX
Patsy Phillips Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Robert Jackson Individual 25 Tyler, TX
Ron & Pat Pinkenburg Individual 50 Bullard, TX
Ruth York Individual 25 Flint, TX
Sam Griffith Individual 100 Tyler, TX
Shirley Pyle Individual 100 Flint, TX
Stacy & Garet Leverett Individual 250 Tyler, TX
Trevor Ahlberg Individual 2500 Tyler, TX
Walter Moore Individual 50 Tyler, TX
Smith County Republican Women Entity 1000 Cisco, TX
Texas Dental Hygienist Assoc. PAC Entity 500 Houston, TX
Tx Ophthalmological Assoc. PAC Entity 1000 Dickinson, TX

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