Trump set to collect campaign cash in Midland-Odessa like many before him – mySanAntonio.com

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Published 2:08 pm CDT, Friday, July 24, 2020

A presidential candidate is coming to Midland-Odessa. Well, actually it’s the president who will be campaigning in the Petroplex.

President Donald Trump will not be the first member of his administration to come to the Permian Basin. Vice President Mike Pence came to Midland for a fundraiser in April 2019. The president won’t even be the first member of his family to touch down in the region. His son, Eric, and Eric’s wife, Lara, have  been to Midland, and ducked into the Midland County Republican Women’s luncheon during that October 2017 visit.

Trump is coming to Odessa to raise funds for his presidential campaign. That doesn’t exactly put him in rare territory. Just this century, Midland has been a place to welcome Republicans running for president. Midlanders’ backing of their native son – President George W. Bush – included lots of Midland dollars.

After Bush’s time was done, other presidential candidates, including Mike Huckabee and Rudolph Giuliani, headed to Midland in 2008. The party’s nominee that year, John McCain, had planned to come to Midland for a fundraiser, but he backed out at the last moment because of the fundraiser’s connection to Clayton Williams and the media’s dredging up Williams’ comments made two decades earlier in his gubernatorial campaign against Ann Richards.

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In 2012, candidates again made an appearance in Midland, including nominee Mitt Romney, who attended a fundraiser at the Petroleum Club of Midland. Reports after the event indicated he collected more than $3 million during his trip to Midland.

In 2016, Republicans coming to Midland didn’t include the eventual nominee and president – Donald J. Trump — but did include former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Trump’s scheduled appearance in Odessa — a “Permian Basin Special Event with Donald J. Trump, president of the United States,” according to the invitation from the Trump-Pence Victory Committee — includes a roundtable event, which costs attendees $100,000 each. There is a meet-and-greet with a photo opportunity – at a cost of $50,000 a couple. The day also includes a $2,800-a-plate luncheon. Reports have indicated as many as 400 people have responded for the luncheon.

Republican stalwarts Ernie Angelo, Don Sparks and Kirk Edwards told the Reporter-Telegram they didn’t have a problem with candidates coming to the area for a political payday.

Edwards, an Odessan, said the Permian Basin is not on the beaten path for those in Washington, D.C., and the exposure a fundraiser can provide is a benefit for the region and the oil industry.

Angelo, a former National Republican committeeman, said there are times candidates can “wear us out,” but he still sees Midland’s position as a destination city for politicians is a good thing.

“The more you can elect, the better it is,” Angelo said. “Midland is definitely on the radar.”

While Trump’s visit is a headline event, there are plenty who come to Midland under the radar. After all, Midlanders’ willingness to donate – typically to Republicans – is well-documented. In 2010, a Hearst study showed Midland giving the most money in political donations per capita. That was true of the 2008 presidential cycle when Midland County residents on average gave more than twice the next closest county, Travis County.

Sparks told the Reporter-Telegram about efforts made to bring in senators such as Tim Scott of South Carolina and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. He said it is in the best interest of those in the region that elected officials are informed about what is going on in one of the world’s largest oil basins. They learn about the Endangered Species Act and regulations that can hinder operations and therefore energy independence.

“It is impressive what we do out here,” Sparks said. “I haven’t seen a single one yet who has turned on us after coming here.”

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