Statewide campaigns can attract big bucks. In the case of one Texas Democrat, her campaign has been infused with tens of thousands of dollars worth of deer semen.
Texas Democrat Ana Lisa Garza is a Starr County district court judge running for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives.
According to her latest financial filing, released by the Texas Ethics Committee, Garza raised approximately $88,000. Of that total amount, $51,000 was in in-kind contributions, which are typically non-monetary donations in the form of advertising, event space, food, logistics and the like.
Approximately $24,000 of Garza's in-kind contributions were deer semen.
The contributions of deer semen straws came from local breeders and appear under names like "Hotshot," "Gladiator Sunset," "Bigboy," and "Sweet Dreams."
The Dallas Morning News reported on the unusual campaign donations. Fred Gonzalez, the treasurer of the Texas Deer Association, donated one straw to Garza's campaign valued at $1,000.
"Semen is a very common way for us to donate," the deer breeder told the Dallas Star. "One collection on a buck could lead to 60 straws sometimes. If you have a desirable animal, it’s a way to bring value without breaking the bank."
The campaign contributions have raised some red flags for state ethics officials. The deer semen straws were not technically used by Garza's campaign, but auctioned off. The money raised at auction was then donated to the candidate.
The first Texas Democratic primary is scheduled for March 6. Garza is running to represent the 31st District against incumbent Rep. Ryan Guillen who has held the seat since 2002.