AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Harvey Hilderbran was the first candidate in the state comptroller's race to begin airing television ads on Monday, purchasing time on cable stations in San Antonio and West Texas, his campaign said.
In the ad, Hilderbran promises to reinstitute performance reviews of state agency spending, if elected, to catch potential waste, fraud, abuse and duplication sooner. The Texas comptroller is responsible for managing the state's revenues and disbursing funds to state agencies. Lawmakers gave primary responsibility for performance reviews to the Legislative Budget Board in 2003, and Hilderbran said they should give it back.
"The private sector monitors costs every day. Its high time state government did the same," Hilderbran says in the ad.
Matt Mackowiack, a Hilderbran campaign consultant, declined to say how much the campaign spent, but said it was more than $100,000 and the ad would air in seven media markets.
Hilderbran's main opponent in the Republican race for comptroller is state Sen. Glenn Hegar from Katy. In the latest campaign finance reports, Hegar reported $2.57 million cash-on-hand on Dec. 31, while Hilderbran had $1.34 million. The two other Republican candidates had less than $55,000.
The party primary election is on March 4. If one candidate does not get more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face each other in a runoff on May 27.
Hilderbran was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, responsible for writing tax legislation. He has been rolling out a 10-point plan for how he would improve the comptroller's office.
Hegar won statewide attention for sponsoring one of the toughest new abortion laws in the country and served on the Senate Finance Committee.
The present state comptroller, Susan Combs, chose to retire when her term expires next year. Critics from both parties have complained that Combs has not accurately tracked and predicted state revenues, forcing the Legislature to make drastic cuts to public schools that were unnecessary in 2011.