Challenger outspends Starr DA 3 to 1

Carlos Escobar and Gocha Ramirez

Gocha Ramirez, the attorney challenging current 229th District Attorney Omar Escobar in the upcoming election, once again outspent his opponent during the last half of 2019, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

The reports, which detail campaign contributions and expenditures from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2019, were filed last week.

Escobar spent $15,546 during that period while Ramirez spent $58,318, more than three times as much.

Ramirez’s expenses included $18,455 for events, $18,213 on signs and printing-related expenses, $8,754 on advertising and $8,000 on consulting services.

For Escobar, the majority of his expenses came from printing and advertising expenses, having reported spending $7,153.75 and $7,100, respectively.

Ramirez also outspent the current DA with $24,050 in reported monetary contributions for this period. Additionally, he loaned himself $30,000.

Escobar reported receiving a total of $6,801 in contributions. Of that, $5,501 were monetary while $1,300 were non-monetary, in-kind, contributions.

The contributions to Ramirez’s campaign came from 21 different donors, which comprised of individuals, law firms and other companies.

The largest contributions of $5,000 each came from Edward Barrera, a business owner from Buda, Texas — a city just outside of Austin — and David Landry, another business owner based out of Many, LA.

The several businesses that donated to Ramirez included the Law Office of Pope & Pope in Rio Grande City, the Law Office of Shiree D. Salinas PLLC in McAllen, and the Law Office of Michael Guerra, also in McAllen — all donations were $1,000.

Others included McAllen-based law firm Barrera, Sanchez & Associates, PC which donated $750, Campbell A. Patton LTD, a Mission-based real estate company which contributed $500, Ellis, Koeneke & Ramirez LLP, a McAllen law firm which also donated $500, and Peralez Franz LLP, another McAllen law firm which made two donations — one of $450 and the other of $550.

Plenty of attorneys donated as individuals as well, including Victor Vicinaiz of Palmhurst who gave $1,150 to the campaign and David G. Oliveira of McAllen who contributed $1,000.

Escobar received monetary contributions from five different sources, including $1,501 from RGC Hospitality LLC, $1,500 from Mascorro Bail Bond, $1,000 from Edgar Mascorro, and $1,000 from Sam Vale, president of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company.

He also received in-kind donations including $400 in advertising from Antonio Moreno of Roma, $400 in billboard space from Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, and $500 combined from other individuals in billboard rent.

The two candidates will face off in the Democratic Primary elections on March 3.