Fracking Billionaires Pump Millions Into Texas Races, Pushing State GOP Even Further to the Right

A civil war is raging among Texas Republicans. Nowhere are the big-money moves and political schisms more apparent than in a little-publicized state Senate race on the east side of Dallas.From East Dallas’ blue precincts to moderate Republican turf in Garland and Mesquite, to ruby-red Rowlett and a huge swath of heavily GOP-leaning territory in East Texas, the sprawling Senate District 2 offers a glimpse at how a few West Texas billionaires are trying to tip the Legislature in a very different and much more hard-right direction.Tea party-aligned state Sen. Bob Hall, a freshman Republican from Edgewood, is trying to fend off a challenge from pro-business conservative Sunnyvale GOP state Rep. Cindy Burkett.The Wilks brothers of Cisco, southeast of Abilene, and political action committees they dominate have given nearly $540,000 to Hall’s re-election campaign — 55 percent of its total fundraising haul.Farris and Dan Wilks, fixtures in the Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day Church their father helped found, whose adherents follow Jesus but also dietary laws described in the Old Testament, became billionaires in a mid-2000s “fracking” boom in oil and gas drilling.Farris, his wife, JoAnn, and Dan and his wife, Staci, have invested millions in staunchly conservative political causes and news media sites. In state races, the two couples have zoomed to the top of the list of GOP mega donors.  Continue reading...

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