Susan Combs

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Susan Combs
Susan Combs.jpg
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Former officeholder
In office
January 2007 - January 2015
PredecessorCarole Strayhorn (R)
Base salary$150,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Campaign $$20,659,852
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Texas Agriculture Commissioner
Texas House of Representatives
Bachelor'sVassar College
J.D.University of Texas Law School
Date of birthFebruary 26, 1945
Office website
Susan Combs is the former Republican Texas Comptroller. She was first elected to the statewide office in 2006 and won re-election in 2010.

After giving serious consideration to a possible bid for Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 2014, Combs announced on May 29, 2013, that she would not run for lieutenant governor, or any statewide office, in the 2014 elections.[1]


Combs was initially elected as comptroller on November 7, 2006, succeeding Carole Strayhorn, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for governor as an independent in the same election. Prior to her tenure as comptroller, Combs served two terms as Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture from 1999–2007, having succeeded commissioner Rick Perry, who was elected as lieutenant governor. Combs has also worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the City of Dallas, Texas and as a state director for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.[2]


  • B.A., Vassar College
  • J.D., University of Texas Law School

Political Career

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (2007-2015)

Transparency advocacy

"Where the money goes"

Combs spearheaded the creation of an online portal for state expenditures, “Where the Money Goes.” The basis for the site began with Combs’ first week in office in January 2007, when she posted detailed expenditure information for the Comptroller’s office online. Before transparency legislation was signed into Texas law on June 15, 2007, Combs had already built the Web site detailing expenditures of 24 agencies responsible for 80 percent of the state’s spending.

The site was later re-launched under the name “Where the Money Goes” in October 2007. The site now offers users a free, searchable database of all state agency expenditures. The four major search functions on the portal include state agency search, vendor search, spending category search and purchasing code search, a feature that allows users to “drill down” to item levels for the biggest agencies.[3]

Open Book Texas

On December 3, 2008, Combs introduced Book Texas (dead link), a three-part set of initiatives aimed at improving government spending, transparency and accounting accuracy. The Comptroller’s Texas Smart Buy initiative gives state agencies and local governments access to an online shopping cart to purchase goods and services through state-negotiated contracts, effectively leveraging the state of Texas’ bulk buying power to receive lower prices. Combs also directed a comprehensive study of ways to integrate data across Texas state government to make processes and systems more cohesive, standardized and efficient.[4]

Texas Transparency Check-up

Combs declared herself in support of transparency for the state budget and state expenses. Most important in terms of transparency, Combs unveiled a new Web site, Texas Transparency Check-Up, which expands the Comptroller’s previous online accountability efforts and encourages transparency at all levels of Texas government finance. The Web site offers transparency guidance to local governments and provides Texans an opportunity to see how well their local governments stack up in offering online access to financial information.[5]

Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1998-2007)

Combs served as Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1998 to 2007.

Texas House of Representatives (1993-1996)

Combs represented District 47 in the Texas House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996.



See also: Texas Lieutenant Gubernatorial election, 2014

Combs was eligible for re-election, but announced on May 29, 2013, that she would not seek another term as state comptroller nor election to any Texas statewide office in 2014.[1]

Combs had previously been considered a potential Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas in the 2014 election. The race would have pit her against incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican primary.[6]


On November 2, 2010, Susan Combs won re-election to the office of Texas Comptroller. She defeated Mary J. Ruwart (L) and Edward Lindsay (G) in the general election.

Texas Comptroller, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSusan Combs Incumbent 83.2% 3,307,935
     Libertarian Mary J. Ruwart 10.5% 417,523
     Green Edward Lindsay 6.3% 252,233
Total Votes 3,977,691
Election Results Via: Texas Secretary of State


On November 7, 2006, Susan Combs won election to the office of Texas Comptroller. She defeated Fred Head (D) and Mike Burris (L) in the general election.

Texas Comptroller, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSusan Combs 59.5% 2,547,323
     Democratic Fred Head 37% 1,585,362
     Libertarian Mike Burris 3.5% 150,565
Total Votes 4,283,250
Election Results Via: Texas Secretary of State


On November 5, 2002, Susan Combs won re-election to the office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner. She defeated Tom Ramsay (D), Vincent J. May (L) and Jane Woodward Elioseff in the general election.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSusan Combs Incumbent 59.5% 2,636,129
     Democrat Tom Ramsay 37.8% 1,674,372
     Libertarian Vincent J. May 1.2% 52,234
     Green Jane Woodward Elioseff 1.5% 64,818
Total Votes 4,427,553
Election Results Via: Texas Secretary of State

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Combs is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Combs raised a total of $20,659,853 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 9, 2013.[7]

Susan Combs's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Texas Comptroller Not up for election $5,308,432
2010 Texas Comptroller Won $2,744,001
2008 Texas Comptroller Not up for election $2,963,578
2006 Texas Comptroller Won $4,621,504
2004 TX Agriculture Commissioner Not up for election $1,800,409
2002 TX Agriculture Commissioner Won $1,782,234
1998 TX Agriculture Commissioner Won $1,439,695
Grand Total Raised $20,659,853


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Susan Combs's donors each year.[8] Click [show] for more information.


Combs grew up in a ranching family from West Texas. She lives in Austin with her husband, Joe W. Duran. She is the mother of three sons.[2]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Carole Strayhorn (R)
Texas Comptroller
Succeeded by
Glenn Hegar (R)
Preceded by
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Todd Staples (R)
Preceded by
Texas House of Representatives
Succeeded by