It’s been more than a week since the primary, and we’re finally getting a trickle of information about the mysterious Grady Yarbrough, the man who garnered 127,971 votes in last week’s primary and will be face Paul Sadler in the runoff to determine the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.
We have a picture of him, thanks to the one he provided various voter guides:
He also has a Facebook page. And he also has a website…that currently redirects back to his Facebook page.
This is not the first statewide race Yarbrough has run, but the fourth, since he “ran unsuccessfully in 1986 and 1990 for the GOP nomination for land commissioner, and in 1994 as a Democrat for state treasurer.”
Maybe Grady Yarbrough’s campaign evaded my sight because it was designed to? According to this tidbit from the Texas Tribune’s election night liveblog:
Reached by phone, Yarbrough said he had not been following the results but is not surprised he is running ahead of Addie Allen and Sean Hubbard and only behind former state Rep. Paul Sadler.
“I felt that it would be a runoff and yes, I have a plan for the runoff,” Yarbrough said. “It’s turning out the way I thought it would.”
Unlike his three competitors in the primary, Yarbrough has not reported raising or spending any money with the Federal Elections Commission. Yarbrough said he just hasn’t filed any reports yet but did spend money around the state promoting his campaign. Yarbrough said he advertised in African-American newspapers and had yard signs up in several parts of the state.
“I spent money, you bet I have,” Yarbrough said.
In this interview, Yarbrough says that he “campaigns seven days a week, often up to 16 hours a day.” Also this: “I am doing selective campaigning. When there is a heavy Hispanic and African-American population in those counties, I go directly to those places. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am now.”
Obviously, a strategy to advertise in black newspapers around the state and do only face-to-face campaigning would fly completely under my radar (and explain last week’s endorsement news). Also, if he was indeed doing events seven days a week, it explains one reason he beat Sean Hubbard for the runoff spot: he out-hustled and out-worked him. Imagine that.
Could voters be confusing him with long-dead liberal Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough? (Ralph Yarborough was probably the single most influential figure in turning the Texas Democratic Party from a conservative majority party to a liberal minority party.) Given that Ralph Yarborough hasn’t been on the ballot in 40 years, I tend to doubt it. (Also, it seems to me that some of the media outlets pushing this theory are the same ones who keep telling us that people today have the attention spans of meth-addicted gnats.)
I sent an email request to Grady Yarbrough through his Facebook page asking for an interview. I’ll let you know if he agrees to one (or even replies).