Houston, Texas, mayoral candidate and prominent trial attorney Tony Buzbee brought a wheelbarrow of horse manure to his news conference on Friday to illustrate that he believes "something stinks at city hall."
"And it's not this horse manure," Buzbee said as he spoke outside his midtown campaign headquarters.
What does he mean?
He was referring to his allegation that Mayor Sylvester Turner trades city contracts for campaign contributions. He believes that anyone who does business with the city should not be donating to political candidates, KTRK-TV reported.
"Somebody needs to ask more questions about the $38,000,000 contract where the mayor's former law partner got $6.7 million," Buzbee said. "That stinks. Stinks just like this horse manure."
On Sunday, Buzbee took out a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle that explained how he would stop city officials from accepting campaign contributions from those who contract with the city. One of Buzbee's proposals would "bar anyone who donates to a city official from doing business with the city for a year," the Houston Chronicle reported.
Another mayoral candidate, businessman Bill King, said earlier this week that he would also challenge city officials and introduce measures to stop the practice, according to the TV station. King narrowly lost to Turner in 2015.
"More than 70 percent of the money that has been donated to this mayor comes from people doing business with the city," Buzbee said. "It spiked in the last six months. Do you know why it spiked? Because they finally figured out how they're gonna distribute the $1.18 billion that's coming from Washington and so now people are in — these engineers, architects, consultants —out of state entities."
"I used to raise hogs and when you bring the slop, the hogs come running and that's what's going on at the city of Houston," he added.
When asked if he is Democrat or Republican, Buzbee, a prolific political fundraiser, has told media he prefers to not use political labels.
What about fundraising?
The wealthy attorney is "self-funding his campaign," and has pledged to take no donations. He has also said he will donate the mayor's salary to a person of his choice.
Campaign finance reports have shown that Buzbee is the only donor to his campaign. The $2 million includes just over $500,000 on television ads, according to reports.
Turner has raised $1.2 million since July "from hundreds of donors, spent $633,000 and has $2.8 million in his campaign war chest," KTRK reported.
Turner declined comment, a campaign spokesperson told the TV station.
Houston's municipal election takes place Nov. 5, 2019.