By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

The general election is more than three months away, but the first financial figures are in for the Texas House District 55 race.

Tuesday was the deadline for reporting total political expenditures for Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, and Sam Murphey, D-Harker Heights.

While the numbers may tell a different story depending on whom you talk to, it's fairly clear that Sheffield has a sizable lead on Murphey in total political contributions in the early going, as he has reeled in more than double the money since the campaigns began last December.

Sheffield has pulled in more than $250,000 in total money raised, while Murphey has pulled in about $115,000.

However, because of Sheffield's lengthy, expensive battle with Martha Tyroch in the Republican primary, Murphey has the edge in cash on hand, having spent less than half his money, with more than $80,000 still in reserve. Sheffield, meanwhile, has about $66,000 on hand.

Also, Sheffield has more than $90,000 in outstanding loans as of June 30, while Murphey has no loans.

Since the runoff April 8, Sheffield has pulled in more funds than Murphey. Sheffield has pulled in $127,553.48 since March 30 to Murphey's seven-month total of $80,000.

Sheffield leads Murphey in the total number of contributions, 467 to 341, as well as in-district contributions, with a total of 291 to 202. Sheffield also leads out-of-district contributions, 176 to 139.

The amount of money each candidate has made in the district breaks about the same, with each getting just under half of their total funds from residents within District 55. However, Sheffield's funding from inside the district since the runoff is more than 70 percent, compared to Murphey's 53 percent.

The average funding per donation is $540 for Sheffield and $337 for Murphey.

In 2008 alone, Sheffield has significantly outpaced Murphey, with 402 contributions to Murphey's 247, leading to nearly a 4-to-1 advantage in total funding inside the district,

$99,781 to $26,524.

The candidates will be required to submit further filing information in September.

Contact Justin Cox at or (254) 501-7568.

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