Texas Democrat’s congressional campaign received a PPP loan in May

Dr. Christine Eady Mann outside the medical building in Cedar Park where she works. Mann took out and paid back a Paycheck Protection Program loan for her U.S. House campaign. Sergio Flores for The Texas Tribune

A Democratic candidate for the U.S. House took an unconventional route this spring to keeping her campaign afloat: She took out a small business loan that was part of the government response to the COVID-19 inflicted damage on the economy.

Dr. Christine Eady Mann confirmed to The Texas Tribune on Monday a KXAN report that she took out a $28,600 Paycheck Protection Program loan for her campaign. As a family physician, she said, she has spent much of her time as a frontline worker responding to the outbreak. Her campaign paid the loan back last month.

"Fundraising was challenging," she said of the early May loan from First Texas Bank. "So we applied for and were granted the loan, just like every other small business that needed to feed their employees."

Federal officials created the PPP program this spring as a means to prevent small business owners from laying off staff. Should the owners comply with federal mandates within the program, the loans will shift into grants and effectively be forgiven.

Mann said her campaign paid the money back, and her most recent campaign finance report verifies that on June 23 her campaign paid the bank $28,600 in an itemized disbursement labeled "Paycheck Protection Program."

"Thankfully, we were able to pay it back a few weeks later," she said. "Six weeks to be exact."

Mann is one of several medical professionals running for Congress who are balancing the demands of a health crisis with those of running for public office. She told the Tribune that she juggles a 35-hour work week as a physician on top of running for Congress as a frontline worker amid the pandemic.

She is in a Democratic runoff against computer engineer Donna Imam. The winner of that race will take on U.S. Rep. John Carter, a Round Rock Republican. That race could become competitive in the fall. For now, the political handicappers at Inside Elections say the race leans Republican.

Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.

Disclosure: The Texas Tribune, as a nonprofit local newsroom and a small business, applied for and received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program in the amount of $1,116,626.