By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
Spectators looking for a fun finish on Election Day in the House District 55 race can only hope that Tuesday's vote is as close as the campaign cash race.
In just the past month, the campaigns for Democrat Sam Murphey and Republican Ralph Sheffield spent a combined $297,521.93. That's almost $10,000 per day.
The month before that they spent more than $115,000.
Now with just two days remaining in the early voting period, the campaigns are throwing every last bit of money they have at littering the voters with ads on television, mail and other media.
And after trailing his Democratic counterpart in cash on hand and total earnings, Sheffield moved past Murphey in contributions in the campaign's home stretch, pulling in more than $163,000 during the last 30 days.
A PAC belonging to state House Speaker Tom Craddock gave Sheffield $20,000 of those funds, as Sheffield has been on record as a supporter of Craddock, touting his experience.
Much of those funds came from a fundraising effort that included an event with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison early this month. Murphey was not far behind, raising $138,000.
Murphey had more than double Sheffield's cash on hand prior to the last reporting period at the beginning of October, and put much of his money on television ads, which have been airing since last week.
Sheffield's campaign has a little more left as of the reporting deadline, Friday. Most of that was spent Wednesday on a new television ad that starts today that targets Murphey's latest television ad.
Murphey's ad charges Sheffield with a weak stance on illegal immigration, saying he is influenced by his years as president of the Texas Restaurant Association.
The ad says Sheffield does not support financial penalties against business owners who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
As support for the claims, Murphey provided documentation from the political courage test on votesmart.org. The site carries a list of numerous issues and stances from a variety of political fields, and asks the candidates which stances they would support if elected to office.