Conroe, January 22 – Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s January 13, 2017, semiannual campaign finance report displayed her commitment to support of community activities and the local Republican Party. The report, which Davenport filed with Elections Administrator Suzie Harvey, covers the period from July 1 to December 31, 2016. Davenport, who held a campaign fundraiser on November 17, at the Lone Star Convention Center, revealed substantial grassroots support, because most of her contributions were from small dollar contributors of $100.00 or less.
Davenport’s largest contributors were Sheriff-Elect Rand Henderson, $6,000, Mercedes-Benz dealer Bob Milner, $5,000, Woodlands attorney Eric Yollick, $2,500, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Wayne Mack, $1,000, engineer Robert Smith, $1,000, and contractor Brad Perrine, $1,000. Joe Haliti contributed $2,506.53 of catering service, in-kind, for Davenport’s November fundraiser.
Davenport reported $38,015.03 in contributions during the period, $27,476.94 in expenditures many to local community organizations and Republican groups, and a reporting period closing balance of $5,800.35, as of December 31, 2016.
Davenport is running for re-election to the County Treasurer’s position in the March, 2018, Republican Primary Election, although she told The Golden Hammer that she is far more focused on her daily duties as the County’s chief financial officer. She and her staff are responsible for all accounts receivable (including tax collection, fees and fines, and administration of unclaimed property) and accounts payable (including payroll for 2,400 employees and county purchases). Her office also directs the investment of county funds, currently totaling over $400 million.
Over the weekend, The Golden Hammer sat down with Davenport to interview her over issues related to her office, her campaign, and her role in community service.
The Golden Hammer: You seem to have spent almost all of your campaign funds that you’ve collected. Does that concern you? Why or why not?
Davenport: Campaign funds are not just to secure my re-election. They are also used to help support the many things I care about in Montgomery County. The individuals and community organizations, the Republican Party and the organizations that support the party. Doing my job and doing my job well, should make me the most qualified for re-election and, as in 2014, I did not have an opponent and did not have to run a countywide campaign. My contributors are my friends that want to extend and support the many activities that my campaign and I are involved with the community. A lot of times what an organization needs is my time, at other times what they need is a sponsorship or financial support. I use my campaign and personal funds when needed.
The Golden Hammer: What will you do if you draw an opponent?
Davenport: If I ever drew an opponent, I am counting on our vast network of friends to help us run a county wide race. We would ask for that specific purpose and would self-fund as needed.
The Golden Hammer: Would you please explain what I Love MoCo Republicans (name may be wrong) is, what is its relationship to you and your campaign, how do you support it financially and operationally, and why?
Davenport: I Love Being MoCo Republican was an idea I created in 2014 as an extension of my campaign. The idea is to increase pride of the community, in the community and what the Republican officials are accomplishing for the community. A logo was created as a symbol, it was put on signs, tumblers and window stickers. They were distributed to Republican Party organizations and volunteers. Used as membership perks, etc. As other elected officials saw what I (my campaign) was doing, they applauded it and offers of help started. In 2014, I took those offers of help and put together 4 recognition dinners to honor all the election volunteers, Pct Chairmen and party officials after the November election I coordinated the events and volunteers, personally called and invited all the guests, paid all the bills and I believe all had a wonderful time as nothing like that had ever happened. You can learn more about it at https://www.facebook.com/ mocorepublican/
The Golden Hammer: Who were your initial supporters in the organization?
Davenport: Sheriff Tommy Gage, County Judge-Elect Craig Doyal, and Constable Ryan Gable were the initial supporters, quickly followed by the JP’s, and other Constables (we did the regional events in their precincts) and then we added a Commissioner and a District Judge as sponsors. Although he has been a big supporter attending events and volunteering the last 3 years, our new Sheriff Rand Henderson has now become a financial supporter. We list them all on the facebook page. Not everyone does everything. But all are recognized via the cooperation, so no matter where people see the logo, we want them to feel good about the people behind it.
After the November 2016 election we had our second biennial Pct Chair event. We added new elements and it was a nice success. I hope for them to be something they can expect in the future. The 2016 bash just had 5 of us paying but more were invited and listed as sponsors. I have put a lot of personal money into it but, quite frankly, I think it is a great investment to keep us red and not have Democrat opponents in the Fall.
The Golden Hammer: Who keeps the books for I Love Being MoCo Republican?
Davenport: I have kept all of the contributors as office seekers/holders. The state ethics commission attorney advised us that by doing so we would not have to create a PAC as all contributions in and expenses out would be transparently disclosed on the contributors and my campaign finance reports. If it was ever to expand to outside of that then a PAC would be necessary. In the Fall of 2016 my campaign purchased a DBA so that it would have standing should someone abuse the logo (which has not happened) and to allow for more clarity as to what the supporters were actually writing checks for.
The Golden Hammer: What’s your political philosophy as an officeholder?
Davenport: My philosophy is that my being Country Treasurer is more than the duties and responsibilities of the office and department. As a servant leader I want to extend my good offices and use my talent to enrich the lives of the citizens of Montgomery County. I am personally involved with 22 community organizations. As everything from a mentor to a board member. In that way, I feel like I am serving to my fullest capacity. I will always look back on this time as an opportunity to serve and make a difference.