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Arlington

Vote Yes! raked in big bucks during week before stadium election

By Robert Cadwallader

rcadwallader@star-telegram.com

January 17, 2017 10:11 PM

ARLINGTON

The group that won voter approval for a new $1 billion Texas Rangers stadium received $287,000 in political contributions during the final days before the election Nov. 8, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday.

The Vote Yes! Keep the Rangers political action committee had already raised nearly $1.5 million in the previous three filing periods, with the Rangers kicking in about a third of that.

The PAC extended its lopsided financial lead over the project’s principal opponent, the Citizens for a Better Arlington PAC, which raised about $7,000 during the previous reporting periods. Documents filed Tuesday — covering Oct. 30 through Dec. 31 — reported no contributions and $50 in political expenses for the opposition group.

Voters overwhelmingly backed the proposal to extend the city’s half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel-occupancy tax and 5 percent car-rental tax — currently paying down the city’s share of the AT&T Stadium construction debt — to fund up to half of the new Rangers stadium’s cost.

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Vote Yes!, headed by Mayor Jeff Williams and touting the support of former mayors and scores of community leaders, had little trouble with finances — especially with the Rangers’ checkbook at the ready.

In the latest period, contributions included $200,000 from the Rangers and $50,000 from Moritz Partners LP, which also loaned $80,000 to the PAC. Manhattan Construction Co. and Ballpark Parking Partners, businesses involved with the Rangers, gave $15,000 and $5,000, respectively.

Vote Yes! reported political expenditures of $640,312, of which $542,316 went to campaign manager and lead consultant Mayes Media Group of Sunnyvale, which listed a wide range of advertising, polling, printing and other costs.

The lopsided difference in fundraising was far greater than the 60-40 margin of victory at the polls, something Citizens for a Better Arlington leaders took as evidence that they got more bang for their buck.

“We definitely built a coalition that was not there before,” PAC President Faith Bussey said. “I think it accomplished getting people together to do hard things and make changes in Arlington. We’re not done.”

When told that the financial documents reported the PAC with $205.63 left in the bank, Bussey responded, “Nice. We were under budget.”

Robert Cadwallader: 817-390-7186, @Kaddmann_ST