Democrats are mourning the unexpected death of megadonor Steve Mostyn, a wealthy Houston trial lawyer who has backed candidates in Texas and elsewhere around the United States.
Mostyn reportedly died Wednesday, after a “sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue,” according to a statement provided to The Texas Tribune by his wife, Amber Mostyn. He was 46.
“Steve was a beloved husband and devoted father who adored his children and never missed any of their sporting activities. He was a true friend, and a faithful fighter for those who did not have a voice,” Mrs. Mostyn said in the statement.
She added, “If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255.”
Mostyn also asked those wishing to honor her husband’s life to consider supporting the Mostyn Moreno Foundation, which helps children with special needs, or the Special Olympics of Texas.
Steve Mostyn gave more than $2.3 million toward Democrats’ 2014 efforts to elect candidates, including Former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis who ran for governor, according to the newspaper. He donated more than $3 million to Davis throughout the course of her political career, and she mourned his passing on Twitter, saying, “I am heartbroken. Texas has lost an extraordinary person. Steve was a committed and effective fighter for justice, a wonderful husband, father and friend. He leaves behind a lasting impact on everyone who’s [sic] life he touched.”
I am heartbroken. Texas has lost an extraordinary person. Steve was a committed and effective fighter for justice, a wonderful husband, father and friend. He leaves behind a lasting impact on everyone who’s life he touched. Prayers and love for Amber and their beautiful children https://t.co/9fS2BhuulL
— Wendy Davis (@wendydavis) November 16, 2017
Since 2000, Mostyn had donated more than $24 million to political causes in his name and in his law firm’s name, according to Texas Ethics Commission records. Mostyn reportedly made his fortune suing insurance companies on behalf of homeowners after hurricanes. He and his wife, also an attorney, have long been considered the state’s most powerful Democratic backers.
“Steve was a giant,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “He was the epitome of a Texas Democrat – big, bold, fearless, and caring. He dedicated his professional and personal life to fighting for the little guy.”
Mostyn was a vocal critic of former Texas governor Rick Perry. In 2010, the attorney took out a full-page ad in Texas newspapers calling Perry a “coward” for refusing to debate former Houston Mayor Bill White, who he was backing at the time for governor.
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Mostyn “an extraordinary, luminous person who poured himself into securing justice for the voiceless and underrepresented.”
“Our nation has lost a great hero, and the Mostyn family has lost a beloved husband and devoted father,” Pelosi said in a statement.
The Texas Tribune noted in an article about Mostyn’s death that he seemed to have grown weary of funding Democrats in Texas. In a recent interview, he was asked why no major Democratic candidate for governor had yet emerged. Mostyn replied, “The problem, is if we go and ask someone to run for governor then they expect us to fund them with a tremendous amount of money, and you’re talking about a state that has 20-plus media markets, right? I mean, it’s an expensive proposition to do.”
He further noted that he’s tired of being the only one. “You know, we’ll be there to do our part, for sure, and other folks have got to step up to do their part,” Mostyn told the Tribune. “People say I’m not here to do the politics, and I say, we’re slowing down on a lot of things. We’re just a little bit slowing down. We were running pretty hard for 20, 25 years.”
Mostyn told the newspaper that “he had deliberately decreased his political activities, in part, to encourage other Democratic donors to open their wallets.”
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