Posts Tagged ‘Craig James’

Oh Deer

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Ted Cruz staffer Joshua Perry recently tweeted that he had hit a deer. (Both his car and the deer were fine.) I quipped that he should hope it was a Dewhurst-voting deer. He replied he thought it was for Sadler. But there are so many other possibilities:

  • It was a Grady Yarbrough deer, disoriented from suddenly being thrust from the safety of obscurity, out into the bright onrushing headlights.
  • It was a Sean Hubbard deer, which had spent the last two months wandering around despondently without purpose, before finally deciding to put itself out of its misery.
  • It was a Craig James deer, sure it could make it across the road, but only made in 3% of the way before it got hit.
  • It was a Ricardo Sanchez deer, which just stepped out into the road before realizing that it didn’t have the energy to get to the other side.
  • It was a Joe Agris deer, who felt its mission was accomplished simply by stepping out onto the road.
  • It was a Michael Williams deer, which suddenly decided it wanted to be on another road.
  • It was a Roger Williams deer, which was just following the Michael Williams deer.
  • In summary: I’ve been following the Texas Senate race too damn long!

    Texas Senate Race Update for June 11, 2012

    Monday, June 11th, 2012

    I put off putting up the latest Texas Senate race update until the Republican Party of Texas convention in Ft. Worth concluded. Good thing, too, since a lot of news came out of it, almost none of which was good for Dewhurst, but some of this news may be a bit old.

  • Ted Cruz appears on Fox News:

  • Dewhurst claims he wants more than five debates with Cruz. Since Dewhurst did extremely poorly in the ones he did have, color me skeptical.
  • Cruz says bring it on.
  • At least one will be on WFAA.
  • Another will be at KERA.
  • The line to take pictures with Ted Cruz at RPOTC was evidently quite long.
  • Conversely, Dewhurst was booed there.
  • And so was Rick Perry, for endorsing Dewhurst.
  • Despite that, Perry doubles down on backing Dewhurst. I don’t think this course of action will bring him joy….
  • The text of Dewhurst’s RPOTC speech.
  • More coverage of their respective speeches.
  • The Cruz campaign says it’s raised a lot more Texas contributors and small donors than Dewhurst does. While I think they’re probably correct, honesty compels me to point out that comparing Cruz’s internal June 4 donation stats with Dewhurst’s May 17 FEC stats is not an apples-to-apples comparison for many reasons, not last of which is that FEC reports only show donations over $200, so the 69 number for “donations under $250” is simply misleading. (When I pointed this out to the Cruz campaign, they noted that Dewhurst is free to release his own small-donor statistics. Which is true.)
  • Speaking of misleading, Dewhurst goes back to Communist China bit.
  • A look at the Cruz-Dewhurst fundraising numbers.
  • A look at various reasons Dewhurst couldn’t win without a runoff. Ahem: “Just about everybody bet on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win outright.” yeah, Ross Ramsey, everyone except those of us who were actually paying attention to the race.
  • Dewhurst endorsed by Railroad Commissioner David Porter.
  • Craig James endorses Dewhurst. They didn’t even try to pretend Team Dewhurst didn’t write that speech…
  • On the other hand, Lela Pittenger endorsed Cruz. She only had one-third the votes James has, but 95% less baggage…
  • Another KFYO poll where Cruz is clobbering Dewhurst.
  • Dewhurst appeared on Fox News:

    Also on KTRH:

    And KTSA:

    And KCRS:

  • And as far as I can tell looking at the stats on his official page, the most people who have listened to any David Dewhurst YouTube radio interview posted in the last month is…35.
  • As previously mentioned, Grady Yarbrough has a Facebook page. And he also has a website…that currently redirects back to his Facebook page.
  • And now Grady Yarbrough has a YouTube ad:

  • Standard Democratic boilerplate. However, Yarbrough did run two statewide races as a Republican.
  • Sean Hubbard endorses Paul Sadler. “The other guy [Yarbrough] has never even filed with the Senate or FEC.”
  • Post-Primary Senate Race Roundup

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

    Here are the full results on the Republican and Democratic sides.

    Here are some random post-primary race tidbits. I’ll probably have a separate post about the mysterious Grady Yarbrough coming up in a day or two.

  • Last night was really two polls, and Cruz is only 3% behind in the most recent one.
  • The extraordinary nature of the runoff.
  • Cruz wants five debates with Dewhurst.
  • Paul Sadler wants in on that action as well. Whoa, dude. You better worry about slowing that Grady Yarbrough juggernaut first…
  • FreedomWorks is thrilled with Cruz’s showing.
  • At the bottom of this story, you can vote on whether Dewhurst’s last-minute amnesty smear was racist or not. Over 83% are currently voting yes.
  • Craig James issues a gracious, classy concession statement.
  • Speaking of James: Well, this isn’t very nice…
  • Even Paul Burka has has wised-up to fake Dewhurst internal polls. “Well, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twenty times, shame on me. The Dewhurst campaign has made too many claims about why a Dewhurst victory was inevitable without backing them up. The only poll that matters is the one that will be taken on July 31.”
  • Speaking of polls, both PPP and UT/TT polls were in the ballpark for the Republican race, but horribly off for the Democratic side. Any ideas why?
  • Sean Hubbard endorses Paul Sadler.
  • Texas Senate Race Update for May 28, 2012

    Monday, May 28th, 2012

    Since tomorrow is election day, here’s a final Senate race roundup. You might want to take time today to find your voter registration card, locate your polling place, and figure out who you want to vote for.

    Since it’s possible people who haven’t been following the race until now are tuning into this blog, you might want to take a look at:

  • My endorsement of Ted Cruz.
  • Previous senate race posts.
  • Websites of the 2012 Texas Senate Candidates, which is a pretty comprehensive list.
  • Now today’s update:

  • Ted Cruz gets some love over at Big Government.
  • Cruz says he’ll beat David Dewhurst decisively in a runoff.
  • Cruz on Memorial Day.
  • Dewhurst on his father and Memorial Day.
  • Ramparts 360 calls the amnesty smear Dewhurst’s Lowest Attack.
  • More on the Amnesty charge.
  • Peggy Fikac’s roundup of the race. Including this: “Retired teacher Addie Ratliff tossed a verbal grenade at Dewhurst. ‘He’s trash,’ said Ratliff, 74. ‘I just don’t like him. I think he’s a RINO,’ a Republican-in-name-only.”
  • Cruz has picked up six times as much money in donations from Midland as Dewhurst has.
  • Somehow I missed the fact that Dewhurst picked up the endorsement of Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma back on May 18. I think they would have trumpeted that more, since it brings the total of sitting Senators who have endorsed Dewhurst to [long pause while Your Humble Narrator counts on his fingers for dramatic effect] one.
  • Dewhurst squeezing potential donors?

    One source familiar with Texas politics who supports Cruz says that he knows “a number of significant donors” who also have business interests in the state and have been “told by their lobbyists in Austin, ‘Don’t dare give money to Ted, don’t endorse Ted . . . because if you do you’ll never get anything else through in Austin.’”

  • Rick Perry’s endorsement of David Dewhurst is all about Rick Perry.
  • Dewhurst says Cruz hasn’t met a fighter like him before. Maybe, but when was the last truly competitive race Dewhurst ran? 2002? And his last contested Republican primary fight was against Jerry Patterson for Land Commissioner in 1998.
  • Speaking of candidates with one notable sitting congressman supporting them, here’s Rep. Michael Burgess on Tom Leppert:

  • The Tea Party is anti-Big Government, not anti-incumbent.
  • A hand-wringer piece about all the uncertainty redistricting has wrought in Texas selections, focusing on Sylvia Romo vs. Lloyd Doggett in CD35, as well as the Senate race.
  • National Journal offers up the obligatory what to look for on election night piece.
  • Craig James predicts that he’ll be in the runoff. Also predicts that Rob Schneider will take home next year’s Oscar for Best Actor.
  • Paul Sadler cements his standing as the MSM anointed Democratic candidate, snagging the endorsements of The Austin American Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, The Austin Chronicle, and The San Antonio Express-News.
  • The Democratic Senate race is a much more low-key affair. “Sadler has raised less than $80,000, Hubbard less than half that with $30,000.” Also this: “‘I’ve talked to people who have said, “Get through the primary and we’ll make sure you have money to work with,”‘ Hubbard said.” Psst, Sean, hate to tell you, but those people are lying to you. Chances are good they said the same thing to Ricardo Sanchez, and look where it got him…
  • Sadler and Hubbard also appeared on WFAA:

  • Ted Cruz Picks Up Rick Santorum’s Endorsement

    Thursday, May 24th, 2012

    Rick Santorum just endorsed Ted Cruz on the Glenn Beck show:

    That’s got to sting for Craig James, who endorsed Santorum’s Presidential run.

    He’s already got Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Sean Hannity and Ron Paul, among many others. Who will be the next big name to endorse Ted Cruz? Phil Gramm? (Possible) Bush41 or Bush43? (Unlikely) Marco Rubio? (Probably would have happened by now.) Rush Limbaugh? (Nope. He avoids endorsements as a matter of policy.)

    You know who should endorse Ted Cruz? In all seriousness? Craig James. With polls showing him around 4% and his latest FEC report showing he had only $9,000 cash on hand, it should be obvious to everyone (James included) that he won’t be the next Senator from Texas.

    If James wants to run for office again (and I think he does), he should ask himself which looks better: 1.) Running a no-hope campaign to the bitter end and getting 4% of the vote, or 2.) Announcing Sunday night or Monday morning that he’s ending his campaign and endorsing Ted Cruz? In the later case, he’ll probably still pull 2-4% of the vote, and he can always point out the fact he ended his campaign early as the reason why. The Guy Who Dropped Out is a lot more viable than The Guy Who Got Slaughtered So Bad He Pulled Single Digits. Plus it wins him the gratitude of the conservative activists he’ll have to work with in the future, and maybe a nod for, say, a congressional race down the road. Not to mention depriving legions of disgruntled Texas Tech fans from their expected allotment of schadenfreude on election day…

    Texas Senate Race Update for May 22, 2012

    Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

    With just a week to go in probably the longest Senate race Texas has ever seen, expect a lot of election news between now and May 29:

  • Ted Cruz endorsed by Sean Hannity:

    I am given to understand that this Hannity fellow is kind of a big deal.

  • Here’s the automated call Sara Palin is doing for Cruz:

  • Cruz’s pre-primary FEC report. He actually raised more money from donors than Dewhurst did.
  • Here’s Dewhurst’s FEC report.
  • Ted Cruz appears on Coffee and Markets.
  • Club for Growth ads are hurting David Dewhurst. Here’s the ad:

  • Club for Growth has also put up another anti-Dewhurst site: Catchy name, but not seeing anything new there.
  • National Review calls the latest Dewhurst attacks on Cruz “laughable.”
  • The Real Ted Cruz.
  • Blogger Whitney Neal on why she supports Cruz.
  • A more complete breakdown of that UT/Texas Tribune poll. Looks like the Democrats are headed to a Senate runoff as well.
  • Team Dewhurst puts up an endorsement by Rick Perry:

    It’s probably a more effective ad than all of Dewhurst’s previous ads put together.

  • KYFO put a poll up asking which Senate candidate people support.
  • Interesting breakdown of candidate spending per city.
  • The Statesman looks at Tom Leppert. Which is more than Texas voters have done.
  • Leppert also gets the nod from The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram editorial board.
  • Speaking of Leppert, a true story: At a party this past weekend, a friend (who is not the political junkie I am) asked “Who’s that creepy old guy with the suits?”
  • Craig James picks up two San Antonio endorsements. Just because I haven’t heard of these people doesn’t necessarily mean no one else has…
  • New Poll: Cruz Within 9 Points of Dewhurst

    Monday, May 21st, 2012

    According to the UT/Texas Tribune Poll released today, David Dewhurst is at 40% and Ted Cruz is at 31%. In April, the same poll had Dewhurst 38%, Cruz 26%. In January, it was Dewhurst 36%, Cruz 8%. So Dewhurst has gone from an 18 point lead to a 12 point lead to a 9 point lead. And this during the same period Dewhurst has been spending more than $1 million a week on the race, much of it in negative advertising aimed at Cruz. That would explain why Dewhurst felt compelled to drop another $6 of his own money into the race.

    The poll also shows that all Tom Lepeprt’s spending has done is allow him to solidify his grip on third: he’s at 17%. Craig James languishes within the statistical range of Lela Peitinger and Glenn Addison.

    Right now the race is exactly where the Cruz team wanted it to be: heading for a runoff between Dewhurst and Cruz.

    Texas Senate Race Update for May 11, 2012

    Friday, May 11th, 2012

    Certainly Sarah Palin endorsing Ted Cruz was the big senate race news of the week (compared to the tiny news of my own endorsement of Cruz), but there’s still a bunch of other Senate race tidbits:

  • Both Ron Paul and Rand Paul have endorsed Ted Cruz. Rand Paul, of course, has been in Cruz’s corner a while. Not as big as the Sarah Palin endorsement, but not chopped liver either.
  • In the wake of Richard Mourdock’s defeat of Dick Luger, The Weekly Standard wonders if Ted Cruz is next.
  • A look at The Club for Growth’s record of backing winners, and how they’re backing Ted Cruz.
  • Dewhurst skips another debate.
  • Dewhurst puts out a new ad featuring Mike Huckabee:

    TV Ad: Values from David Dewhurst on Vimeo.

  • Pro-Dewhurst SuperPAC put up another attack ad against Cruz:

  • Dewhurst announces the endorsement of Texas RNC member Bill Crocker. Might help a bit more than John Gordon.
  • I still don’t see how highlighting his father’s World War II service is supposed to convince me to vote for Dewhurst. (Cruz’s story of his father (who was at Sunday’s rally) at least dovetails nicely with his campaign themes.)
  • Actual headline from Tom Leppert’s website “Dykes Urges Support For Leppert For Senate”. Were they actually trying for a Fark link? (That’s Pastor David Dykes, by the way.)
  • Leppert’s pastor also goes to bat for him:

  • A look at last Friday’s Senate candidate forum. I didn’t liveblog it, but i did put up some random tweets.
  • Kate Alexander on the state of play in the race.
  • Any new information in the Texas Tribune round-up of the race? (scans it) Nope.
  • Even by the previous lame standards of Team Dewhurst leaks, this “internal poll leak” that shows Leppert about to overtake Cruz is lame.
  • Heh. Team Dewhurst has that “Ted Cruz on Chinese currency ad” appearing on the sidebar of National Review Online. You know, the magazine that just endorsed Cruz. I don’t think that ad will be winning Dewhurst any new supporters…
  • Big Jolly endorses Dewhurst. This is hardly a shock.
  • Glenn Addison endorses Ron Paul. As you can see further up this blog post, you can’t switch the subject and predicate in the preceding sentence…
  • Craig James gets profile in the Dallas Morning News. It’s a nice profile.
  • DMN talks about their Republican endorsement interviews. For the dozen or so conservatives their endorsement might actually sway.
  • James also put up an anti-Cruz radio spot:

  • Naturally, Democrats Sean Hubbard and Paul Sadler both back gay marriage.
  • As the anointed Democratic establishment candidate, it’s no surprise that Sadler picked up the endorsements of both The Dallas Morning News and The San Antonio Express News.
  • Addie D. Allen finally turned in a campaign finance report (some 15 days after deadline), and raised $9,889, of which $5,000 is a loan to herself.
  • Texas Senate Candidate Forum Tonight at 7 PM

    Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

    You can watch it here, or live on-air at various PBS stations around the state. From the poll found here, I’m assuming the candidates will be Ted Cruz, David Dewhurst, Tom Leppert, Craig James, Paul Sadler and Sean Hubbard.

    I might watch if I get some other stuff done, but I won’t be liveblogging it.

    BattleSwarm Blog Endorses Ted Cruz for United States Senator

    Monday, April 30th, 2012

    Lawrence Person’s BattleSwarm Blog endorses Ted Cruz for United States Senator. I believe that Cruz is the best candidate, that he has the longest, strongest, and deepest commitment to conservative principles among all the candidates running, and that he will make the best United States Senator for Texas.

    Because I strive to be both fair and clear, I want to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of all the other Republican candidates in the race, and why I believe Ted Cruz is the superior choice for Senator.

    Let’s dispense with the candidates that didn’t run serious campaigns: Dr. Joe Agris never bothered to even put up a website and never campaigned beyond an event appearance or two; I can only assume his run is a way to advertise his medical practice. Ben Gambini did little better, only managing a Facebook page and a few events. Curt Cleaver at least made some effort, but not enough to make an impression,

    Lela Pittenger ran a semi-serious campaign, raising some money and appearing at numerous events, but I always got the impression that she was running more for ego than to take principled positions at odds with the more prominent candidates. Plus I never got the impression she put in the sustained effort into the nitty gritty, unglamorous work that a real longshot candidate has to in order to have any chance of succeeding.

    With all but one of the longshots dispensed with (we’ll get to him further down), let’s turn to the major candidates.

    Given how heavily favored he was coming into this race, it’s shocking how poor a job Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has done campaigning.

    To be sure, Dewhurst has many strengths, but two of his strongest (name recognition and personal wealth) play no role in my deciding who to endorse. And while I’m impressed with his U.S. Air Force service and his business acumen in amassing a $200+ million fortune, both of those attributes must take a very distant backseat to his decade-long record as Lt. Governor.

    Some of Dewhurst’s record is worthy of praise. While other state governments have spent money like drunken sailors in a Thai whorehouse using George Soros’ stolen credit card, Texas, under Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst, has generally controlled spending, has balanced the budget without raising taxes (though some of that has been accomplished through gimmicks), and actually reduced the state budget for the 2012-2013 biennium compared to the 2010-2011 budget. What share of credit does Lt. Governor Dewhurst take for this achievement? A fair amount. While constrained both by the overall direction of the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning, and Policy, and by the Comptroller’s revenue estimates, the Lt. Governor has considerable control over the process by virtue not only of his oversight of the day-to-day affairs of the state senate, but also his ability to essentially pick half the seats on the Legislative Budget Board, which has a large hand in establishing and managing budget priorities.

    This, and his efforts at shepherding through the (constitutionally required) 2003 redistricting are among the primary reasons Dewhurst has been considered a conservative. And I have defended Dewhurst from charges he was a RINO in the past. Dewhurst occupies that vast gray area between real RINOs such as Arlen Specter and Charlies Crist and true movement conservatives; call him a “big business Republican,” the sort of guy who will defend the free market 90% of the time, but won’t let anything like principles stand in the way of doing favors for well connected friends. (That would also explain why, though he has mostly contributed to Republican candidates, he did make two donations to Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen.) I fear that Dewhurst is probably the most amenable of all the candidates of signing on with the sort of “grand compromise” that gets praised by the press for selling out conservatives rather than fighting to shrink the size and scope of the federal government.

    There’s been real dissatisfaction with Dewhurst among movement conservatives for years. Despite having controlling majorities in both House and Senate, conservative Republicans found their agenda being thwarted in many ways great and small by Dewhurst in the Senate and Speaker Joe Straus in the House:

  • Dewhurst, much more than Perry, has been willing to compromise on higher spending levels.
  • Dewhurst floated the idea of a “Payroll Tax” that Cruz has characterized (I think correctly) as a stealth income tax.
  • Last year Dewhurst floated the idea of raiding the Rainy Day Fund until Perry put his foot down and ruled it out.
  • Dewhurst has frequently chosen Democrats and moderate Republicans as committee chairmen.
  • Dewhurst has frequently compromised on conservative legislative priorities even when he didn’t have to. To be sure, part of his job description is hammering out compromises, but he has frequently seemed to seek out such compromises as a first resort, rather than the last.
  • Numerous insider accounts attest that Dewhurst personally killed Dan Patrick’s anti-TSA groping bill, choosing to knuckle under to the Obama Administration’s empty threats of stopping all air traffic to Texas rather than making liberals defend idiotic practices that are deeply unpopular with the public at large.
  • All this was bad enough, but his lackluster campaign and poor public speaking skills have given even more reasons for voters to look elsewhere. The Cruz campaign was right to ding Dewhurst for his repeated failures to show up at numerous candidate debates and forums across the country, but the Belo debate went a long way toward showing why exactly why Dewhurst has been avoiding such events: He’s not a good debater, he doesn’t seem to think quickly on his feet, and he seemed to grow worse and more confused as the night went on. Frankly, he didn’t seem up to the job.

    Then there’s the issue of his indifference or even hostility to both new media and grassroots conservative activism. The fact that Dewhurst was the only major Republican senate candidate not only unable to find time to sit down for an interview for this blog, but whose campaign even failed to even respond to repeated requests, is only a minor concern (after all, people are busy). But it’s emblematic of the larger issue of Dewhurst’s indifference to new media, the Tea Party, and voters. You can bash Obama failures all day, but that won’t make you stand out from any other Republican candidate in the entire country. Dewhurst is an insider, establishment Republican who seems to have made zero effort to reach out to Tea Party voters.

    This quote from Tea Party 911 blogger Barry Schlech neatly encapsulates what many Texas conservatives think about Dewhurst:

    There is not a lot of tea party support for Mr. Dewhurst because of his more liberal Republican views. He has probably sensed this animosity since he has been unavailable for or a “no-show” at many of the tea party events to which he was invited. He is seen, by many, to represent the “good ol’ boy moderate to liberal Republican establishment that is well entrenched in Austin. He is seen as a close ally to House Speaker Joe Straus whom the tea party does not respect. Many tea partiers are not happy with this liberal Republican clique in Austin and want to change to a more representative and more conservative legislature.

    All that said, David Dewhurst has some real strengths. He’s good at making and cultivating business and cultural connections, good at managing the intricacies of the legislative agenda, good at finding compromises and building consensus, and good at the backslapping minutia of legislative interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, those are precisely the qualities I’m not looking for in my Senator. I don’t want a negotiator, I want a conservative fighter. I want someone to fight for shrinking the size and scope of the federal government and reign in insanely bloated federal spending, not manage it better. There are quite enough get-along-to-go-along compromisers in the senate already; we don’t need another one.

    There are no areas in which I think David Dewhurst would do a better job than Ted Cruz in the Senate, but many in which I think he would perform markedly worse.

    Speaking of people who I just don’t think are up to job, let’s talk about Craig James. James has a lot of strengths: he’s handsome, charismatic, personable, and has done very well for himself in his post-NFL business career. Politically James’ heart seems to be in the right place, he seems considerably more authentic and less calculated than Dewhurst, and his decision to release several years of his own tax returns was a savvy move for increased transparency the other candidates were forced to emulate. James seems to have awakened politically to the numerous problems facing the nation and how far we’ve drifted from a constitutional republic of enumerated powers. That’s a great first step on your political journey.

    Unfortunately, the next step in that journey is not “Run for the United States Senate.” The second step is to read widely, broadly and deeply of both classic and modern political thought. The Constitution and The Bible are great first steps, but you should also read The Federalist Papers and Democracy in America and The Wealth of Nations and The Road to Serfdom and Economics in One Lesson and The Gulag Archipelago and The Black Book of Communism and Darkness at Noon and Up From Liberalism and Conscience of a Conservative and Losing Ground and Liberal Fascism and, yes, Atlas Shrugged, even if you object to Ayn Rand’s anti-religious bias. Start there, keep reading, and soon you’ll have the intellectual underpinnings to deepen and articulate your views. (It would also help you get beyond the irritatingly vague and platitudinous nature of your answers on any issues that go beyond your standard talking points.)

    James doesn’t have that intellectual depth yet, and the fact that he hadn’t even heard of the Posse Comitatus Act is emblematic of his inexperience. His problems are compounded by his late start and his background. If you start out as a professional football player and then move into sports broadcasting, you’re going to have to work twice as hard to convince people that you have the intellectual acumen to run for public office. (Jack Kemp worked very hard at establishing his policy credentials.) James’ problem is compounded by his unwise decision to declare he was living on “Real Street” as his campaign’s central rhetorical motif. Craig, you were a professional football player and broadcaster. It doesn’t matter how many mayonnaise sandwiches you ate in your hardscrabble youth, the voting public at large is never going to believe an ex-NFL player/broadcaster is living on “real street,” no matter how hard you try or how many jobs you create as a businessman. Give it up.

    Craig James isn’t ready to be Senator. Could he “skill up” to be electable a few years down the road, once the Texas Tech controversy has faded? Very possibly, though more likely at the congressional than senatorial level. (Let’s face it, when the bar starts at Sheila Jackson Lee, there are few non-incarcerated Republicans that aren’t up to the task.)

    I’ll give this to Tom Leppert: When this campaign started, I really didn’t see myself ranking him higher than just about any of the declared candidates (which at the time included Roger Williams, Michael Williams, and Elizabeth Ames Jones) or Dewhurst. Leppert is intelligent, he’s dogged, he’s a very good one-on-one retail politician, he doesn’t make many mistakes, he’s assembled a campaign team second only to Cruz’s in their competence and grasp of new media, and he has much better stage presence than Dewhurst.

    So given all that, and Leppert’s solid conservative policy positions on a wide range of issues, why doesn’t he rank higher? Mainly because until October 13, 2010, when Leppert endorsed Rick Perry in the gubernatorial race, Leppert gave absolutely no public sign that he was even a Republican, much less a conservative Republican. Before he started running for mayor, Leppert was just another rich guy whose campaign contributions went to people on both sides of the aisle, including contributions to Democrats like Texas Senate candidate Ron Kirk in 2002, Hawaii’s incumbent Senator Daniel K. Inouye in 1992 and again in 1998, and congressional contender (and later Honolulu mayor and member of Bloomberg’s gun-grabbing Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition) Muliufi Francis Hannemannin in 1990.

    While running for mayor of Dallas in 2007, Leppert:

  • Sought the endorsement of the left-wing SEIU public employees union:

    When he first ran for Mayor, as a moderate and a supporter of working men and women, he was pro-SEIU, pro-public employees organizing, pro-collective bargaining.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he vigorously pursued SEIU’s endorsement.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he came to our union organizing launch in the Water Department — encouraging folks to join SEIU.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, he frequently threw on an SEIU T-shirt and came to our union hall.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he wrote a letter of support to Senator West and testified in favor of SEIU members getting a form of collective bargaining.

    Tom even signed an SEIU membership card!

    Now, that Tom wants to compete in a Republican primary, he has renounced his support of unions and even has the gall to declare he “has expanded the Right to Work.”

  • Sought the endorsement of far left pressure group ACORN, who have been quite busy committing voter fraud in Texas and elsewhere.
  • Did the same thing with the Dallas gay community, marching in their parades while running for mayor of Dallas, only to reverse course when he decided to run for the senate. “After being in office and reaching out to the gay community, he then basically turned his back and slapped us in the face because it was politically expedient to do so.”
  • And that’s just while running for mayor. His record as Mayor of Dallas has just as many question marks on both conservative and good governance grounds:

  • Why did he push so hard for the Trinity Toll Road to be situated inside a flood plain rather than outside it, against the wishes of the Army Corps of Engineers, driving up costs in the process? (The initial cost was estimated at $400 million; it’s now projected at $2 billion, and the construction still hasn’t started.)
  • Why did he push so hard for the city to spend $550 million for a city-owned hotel?
  • What role did the now-dead Lynn Flint Shaw (Leppert’s treasurer during his mayoral campaign) and Willis Johnson play in steering minority contracts under the Leppert Administration?
  • And there are at least two or three other big question marks about Leppert’s term as mayor. Indeed, one sign of how controversial that term was is how rarely he talks about it on the campaign trail, where he puts his business background first and foremost, as though his four years as mayor of Texas’ third largest city never happened.

    The least charitable explanation for Tom Leppert’s behavior is that he’s a pure political animal with no core ideological beliefs other than being elected. The most charitable explanation is that he’s been a “secret conservative” all along, and was just waiting for the opportunity to proclaim to the world what he actually believes. My own suspicion is that he, like Dewhurst, fits neatly into the “get along to go along” establishment Republican mold. Like Dewhurst, I doubt Leppert would be notably more conservative as a senator than the departing Kay Baily Hutchison. That’s not good enough.

    But even if he were a “secret conservative” all these years, why would I prefer him to someone like Ted Cruz who’s never been afraid to proclaim and defend conservative principles throughout the entirety of his career?

    So that takes care of all the major candidates besides Cruz. But there’s still one candidate we haven’t covered. If I weren’t voting for Cruz, I would probably cast my vote for Glenn Addison.

    Though a relative unknown, Addison has probably worked harder than any other candidate on the campaign trail, he’s well-spoken with a certain folksy charm, and he’s run a serious campaign in every aspect except funding. With his energy and effort, he could easily be a successful candidate in a down-ballot race.

    Addison has staked out strong conservative positions on just about every issue, but there are a few I disagree with. I oppose his desire to sanction China for currency manipulation (protectionism is still loser economics). His evidently friendliness with the John Birch Society (there’s a reason William F. Buckley, Jr. felt compelled to cast them out of the respectable ranks of the conservative movement) is not a plus. And the few areas that I do prefer his policies over Cruz (eliminating the EPA and the Departments of Education and Energy, for example) are ones which have absolutely no chance of being passed in the near future. Which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be pushed for…

    If Ted Cruz were not in the race, I would vote for Addison knowing that he would probably be creamed by Dewhurst.

    Fortunately, Ted Cruz is in the race.

    Early on there was debate whether Cruz or Michael Williams was the best Tea Party candidate for the seat. Cruz won that “Tea Party Primary” so decisively that Williams dropped out. Not only is Cruz the unquestioned Tea Party representative, he is the one with the broadest and deepest conservative background. While the phrase “Ivy League Trial Lawyer” is technically accurate, you don’t specialize in 9th and 10th Amendment studies because you want to be rich, and you don’t work at the Texas Public Policy Foundation if you want moderate Republicans to consider you one of their own. Cruz is not only exceptionally sharp, an excellent debater and a gifted public speaker, he’s also a classic fusionist candidate with both strong free market and social conservative credentials, and fits the definition of the rightmost electable candidate in the race.

    Don’t buy the MSM consensus wisdom that Dewhurst is invulnerable because he’s rich. There are lots of “unbeatable” politicians who have been knocked off by lesser-known challengers. Ed Koch was a shoe-in for Governor of New York until he ran into Mario Cuomo. Charlie Crist was going to mop the floor with Marco Rubio until he didn’t. George H. W. Bush looked invulnerable heading into 1992. Despite Dewhurst’s numerous advantages, he hasn’t been able to poll above 50% and Cruz has been steadily eating into his lead. I’ve had relatives who aren’t nearly as politically aware as I express unbidden how impressed they are with Cruz. The grassroots excitement about Cruz is not only palpable here in Texas, but among conservative and Tea Party organizations across the country, with conservative senate stalwarts like Jim DeMint and Rand Paul eager to help Cruz join their ranks.

    I believe Ted Cruz is far and away the best best candidate in the race, and I urge all my Texas readers to cast their votes for him as the next United States Senator from Texas in the Republican primary.