McAllen School Board financial report shows aggressive race


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W.With a future of four seats on the ballot, McAllen ISD’s May 6 school board election is proving to be an expensive affair in terms of both political and financial capital.

Leadership is at stake and change is inevitable. Rookie Lucia Regalado is running as an independent and the second-ranked favorite to win, while his fellow newcomers Rogerio Aleman II and Aaron Daniel Rivera are battling for the unguarded fifth-ranked seat.

More significant leadership changes are also possible. 4th place and his 1st place incumbents Tony Folina and Marcos Suarez face challengers Erica de la Garza-Lopez and Lizzie Kittleman respectively.

Campaign finance reports for these candidates’ first reporting period (January through late March or early April for most candidates) show that they have raised $100,000 or more cumulatively in monetary, in-kind, or loan contributions is shown.

The report also shows that some of these candidates are spending heavily and have fairly aggressive campaigns.

For reference, applicants raised less than $30,000 during the same reporting period for the 2021 election, which saw five candidates run for office.

This year’s campaign finance report paints a complex picture, with a variety of strategies and no shortage of high-profile contributors.

Marco Suarez
Lizzie Kittleman

Location 1

Competition for Place 1 has proven to be the most active in terms of donations and spending.

Suarez — who contributed the most out of the seven nominees — has raised more money and spent more money than Kittleman so far, but she also spent a lot of money on a decent war chest. was building up.

The list of donations is full of notable names — Suarez totaling $29,150 and Kittleman $18,145.15.

Kittleman’s contributions tended to come from McAllen’s business associates. Suarez had his share of that demographic, too, but Edinburgh and Mission addresses pop up more in his reports, along with names that are more recognizable on the county’s political scene.

Suarez’s largest donors were D&F Industries Vice President Trenton Hausenflack, who contributed $2,000, and county commissioner Eduardo Cantu, who contributed $2,000 cumulatively, either personally or through his development company. He also received his $2,000 worth of in-kind donations from Cynthia Gutierrez, Savannah Gonzalez, and Lucia Thompson, but one of the last failed to make his bid for city commissioner in 2021.

Suarez received $1,500 from local developer Shavi Mahtani and another $1,500 from Gilbert Enriquez of Edinburgh.

Thousands of dollars of donors include Hernandez Law Firm of Edinburg, Lopez Family Clinic of Edinburg, Adolfo Martinez of McAllen, Gabriel Kamel Haji of McAllen and Nereida Lopez of Edinburg.

Mission businessman Eddie Betancourt this month appointed by the state The governor also donated $1,000.

Finally, Suarez received $1,000 from hotelier Sunil B. Wadhwani. Who in May 2020 plead guilty Bribing Weslaco officials in exchange for securing financial incentives to build Motel 6s.

Lobbyist Rene Ramirez, former mayoral candidate Michael Farrek, Halff Associates-State PAC and former Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chair Dolly Elizondo are listed among many lesser contributors.

Suarez spent money in large amounts and in many ways. Overall, board candidates tended to lean toward billboards and events as their primary means of campaigning. Suarez also purchased a sign, but also opted for print advertising, and tended to liven up the event with additional amenities like mariachis, photo booths, and musicians.

Suarez paid Selina Hayes over $2,000 in consulting fees. Abel Prado also received consulting fees.

Kittleman’s biggest supporter turned out to be the Rhodes family. Rhodes EnterpriseVice President of Development Mike Rhodes contributed $1,000 and CEO Nick Rhodes contributed $2,000.

She received $2,000 from McAllen’s attorney, Charles W. Kittleman.McAllen Mayor Tony Aguirre Winning $1,500 turned out to be another supporter.

$1,000 donors include Rio Fresh’s Meg and Chris Larson, El Tigre’s Carlos and Cynthia Garza, and McAllen’s dentist Lauro Tijerina.

McAllen Attorney John Ball, DHR Health President Susan Turley, Rio Bank Ford Susser President, Higgenbotham’s Ben Smith, Vantage Bank’s Thomas Davidson.

Kittleman also received a $2,000 loan from her husband.

She spent a fortune on signs, shirts and stickers, paying $350 to Belén Guerrero Aguirre and $2,000 to Amanda Salas. Kittleman’s only event food and drink expenses were her less than $100.

Tony Follina
Erika de la Garza Lopez

location 4

By contrast, the competition for fourth place has proven to be more modest.

Forina has raised and spent less money than either of the top contenders, while De La Garza-Lopez has run a low-profile campaign that is almost entirely self-funded.

Forina received a donation of $9,813.51.

Forina’s biggest backers were McAllen’s law firms Tijerina and Denzer and Jeremy and Martha Smith, each giving $2,500 and known for Matt’s Building Materials.

McAllen doctor April Lopez earned the second highest $1,000.

Small donations came from local restaurateur Albert Rego, former McAllen mayor Jim Darling, Edinburgh economic development director Laudel Garza, and McAllen Chamber of Commerce board member Carlos Melguizo.

Follina spent money primarily on billboards and billboard contract labor, followed by campaign kick-off costs.

He also owed $6,257 in legal fees to the law firm of Gilberto Hinojosa.

De la Garza-Lopez, on the other hand, raised money primarily from $3,324.75 she borrowed.

She spent the money mostly on billboards.

De La Garza-Lopez received one in-kind donation worth $200. It’s a dinner ticket donated by her Debbie Crane-Aliseda, who is currently on the McAllen ISD Board of Trustees, and her husband.

Rogerio Aleman II
Aaron Daniel Rivera

5th place

In terms of spending and fundraising, Rivera proved to be the most aggressive candidate competing for a seat on the board.

He also financially dwarfed Aleman, who was the financially most modest candidate.

During the reporting period, Rivera raised more than $40,000 in war funds. Added to the $17,400 donation was his $25,000 self-loan.

Rivera’s largest donor was Alamo’s 3BU Family Limited Partnership, which donated $2,500, and Trenton Hausenfluck, Vice President of D&F Industries, contributed another $2,500.

Popular Delinquent Bond Lawyer Lineburgers Goggan Blair & Sampson and Jonathan Sakulenzki each won $1,500.

Donors of $1,000 included Lauro Tigerina Jr. of Edinburgh, Beto Salinas Ranch of Mission, Ruben J. De Jesus of Edinburgh, Mission Motel 6 and Law Firm Purdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott will be

Rivera spent just over $24,000 during the reporting period, mostly on billboards, events and campaign meetings.

He also spent $2,500 to hire Martha Hinojosa as a campaign manager, and over $4,000 on graphics and social media.

Aleman’s only $100 donation came from Mission’s Pamela Zamora. He also received business cards worth about $100 from Gina Cruz and her autograph of her 25 campaign yards worth $227 from McAllen City Commissioner JJ Zamora.

Supplementing his campaign funds with about $200 of personal money, Aleman purchased a car magnet and a polo shirt.

Lucia Regalado

Place 2

Not surprisingly, Lucia Regalado received most of the donations in the period before the February 17 deadline for nominations.

Regalado has raised approximately $7,398. Her largest financial contributor was Edinburgh’s attorney, Lucia Caesar, with $1,000.

A lawyer himself, Regalado had a lot of help from other local lawyers, including Jaime Pena, Austin Stevenson, Aissa Garza, Mauricio Martinez, Tania Ramirez, Savannah Gonzalez and Uri Heller.

McAllen City Commissioner Tony Aguirre also contributed $300 to the campaign, and Regalado received over $1,000 in in-kind donations from Carlos Jaime Trevino for shirt embroidery.

Regalado spent most of her money on billboards, events and conferences. She also paid Amanda Elise Salas as her consultant for the campaign.

The campaign recorded approximately $27,000 in outstanding loans.

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