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In Midland's Mayoral Race, Former Pastor Patrick Payton Is Raking In Campaign Contributions — Which Could Be Trouble For Opponents

By Mitch Borden

This week the three candidates competing to be the Midland mayor revealed how much they’ve raised for their campaigns — and one candidate had a record-breaking haul.

Former megachurch pastor Patrick Payton brought in over $185,000 between July and September. That’s more than double what current Mayor, Jerry’s Morales, has raised so far. Candidate Jenny Cudd, has brought in the least amount — roughly $7,300.

Payton’s war chest doesn’t just give him an advantage over his competitors though, it also overshadows Mayor Morales' past campaign fundraising efforts. In his first race to become mayor in 2013, according to the Midland City Secretary, Morales had raised just shy of $100,000 at this point in the campaign. That puts Payton way ahead in this year's election. But in 2013, Morales ended up raising about $193,000 over his entire campaign.

In the coming weeks, Midland voters will find out whether Payton is able keep up his momentum and overcome Morales' past fundraising numbers. Residents will also see if the mayoral race will come down to the size of a candidate's purse or if their campaign messages will decide the election.

*Editors Note: Marfa Public Radio first published and aired a version of this story that, citing an incorrect news report, said that Patrick Payton had broken a Midland fundraising record set by Mayor Jerry Morales in 2013.

After speaking to the Midland City Secretary, MPR found Morales had raised more money than originally reported. Instead of approximately $179,000 in campaign contributions as first reported, Morales brought in about $193,000 in 2013. This discrepancy was due to a financial report from the 2013 election that was later corrected/updated by the candidate to reflect a more accurate account of fundraising.

The Midland City Secretary also told MPR she couldn't confirm whether Mayor Morales held the record for the most campaign contributions.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.