Finance records reveal who is donating to local candidates

Many of our local candidates received donations from teachers, doctors, and lawyers. But who are the other contributors?
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 8:44 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - On Wednesday we broke down how much city council candidates have raised for their campaigns, and now we’re following up on those findings.

Nearly two dozen candidates are running for city council across four districts and some of them are seeing a lot of money flow through their campaigns, some in the tens of thousands.

Many received donations from teachers, doctors, and lawyers. But who are the others?

Starting with District 4, incumbent Alberto Torres has the backing of the Laredo Fire PAC, Texas Association of Realtors Political Action Committee, and Laredo Police Officers Association PAC.

He also received $2,000 from Palafox Hospitality, a business you may not have heard of. It is actually the company that owns La Posada Hotel.

In comparison, challenger Mellie Hereford has the backing of the mayor’s wife, who donated $300.

In District 5, local business owner George Beckelhymer received many donations from other local business owners, as well as construction and energy companies, even a $5,000 donation from a Laredo realtor.

Incumbent Nelly Vielma reported contributions from the owner of Sames Auto Dealership and a $5,000 contribution from Killam Development.

Palafox Hospitality and the Texas Association of Realtors PAC contributed $1,500 each to her campaign.

District 7 has eleven candidates, with some reporting no contributions.

Former Laredo mayor Elizabeth Flores received $1,500 from La Posada Hotel and the Laredo Fire PAC funded t-shirt printing for her campaign.

Killam Development also contributed $5,000 to candidate Vanessa Perez.

Finally, in District 8 Palafox Hospitality donated $1,500 to incumbent Roberto Balli. That’s the fourth candidate they’ve supported monetarily.

Balli has the backing of a fellow councilmember, Doctor Marte Martinez for $1,000. The Laredo Fire PAC funded printing advertising.

Challenger Amber Avis-Hinojosa was also a recipient of a Texas Realtors PAC donation and Webb County Treasurer Raul Reyes donated $100.

Wrapping up, write-in candidate Alyssa Cigarroa... as we reported on Wednesday, she has raised nearly $40,000 and spent nearly $90,000.

Many donations coming from outside Laredo as well as from at least a dozen doctors. This is not surprising since her father is a prominent physician here.

Tita Vela, candidate for the Laredo College Board of Trustees, also donated.

As for non-monetary contributions, elections administrator Jose Salvador Tellez provided used desks and chairs for Cigarroa’s campaign office.

These are not all the candidates running for city council. Since there are so many, we highlighted the most notable contributions.

We encourage you to research all 24 candidates yourself and to review a sample ballot before voting.

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