In the 2014 Republican primary in Texas, in many of the races we have lots of good choices. Our job is to pick the best candidates and tell you why. These are all endorsements rolled out in the past several weeks.
U.S. Senate - John Cornyn
Senator John Cornyn has been an effective leader in the U.S. Senate, one whom most Texans are happy to claim as their own and certainly worthy of support for re-election. Senator John Cornyn's election to the U.S. Senate in 2002 was the culmination of an extremely distinguished public service career that included jobs as District Judge, Justice on the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Attorney General, he was in fact the first Republican Attorney General in Texas since Reconstruction. Since his election to the Senate, Senator Cornyn has served on the prestigious Armed Services and Senate Finance Committees, elected Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has risen to the position of Senate Minority Whip. He has also been a leader on public policy on issues such as government transparency, the Federal budget and protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, an issue which has earned him an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. With such a distinguished list of accomplishments, it should be no surprise that TCR and the majority of Texans are solidly behind Senator John Cornyn in his campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
U.S. House of Representatives, District 36 - Ben Streusand
After only one meager term in office, Congressman Steve Stockman has abandoned District 36, creating an open seat that has attracted a field of 12 candidates all hoping to take Stockman's place. TCR's favorite in Congressional District 36 is businessman Ben Streusand, who has the experience, philosophy and ideas to make a difference in the US Congress. It is no secret that our nation faces many challenges, perhaps none of which is greater than a looming fiscal crisis brought on by irresponsible spending and exacerbated by the big government overreach of the current Administration, including the hijacking of our nation's health care. These issues underscore the need for someone like Streusand, who not only understands finance and business, but also has the experience and perspective to formulate big ideas to solve those issues. Streusand also views securing our border, repeal of Obamacare and protecting 2nd Amendment rights (he is a Life Member of the NRA and holds a CHL) as cornerstones of his political agenda. We also like the fact that Streusand has been working in the trenches and speaking out on these issues for the past ten years as the Texas Advisory Board Chairman for the grassroots group Americans for Prosperity and as a political commentator for KSEV radio. TCR is pleased to recommend conservative Ben Streusand for U.S. House of Representatives, District 36 based on his superior qualifications, conservative ideas and for his committed work on behalf of conservative issues over the past decade.
Governor - Greg Abbott
Greg Abbott is a Constitutional conservative and it shows in everything that he does and says. His commitment to protecting our 2nd Amendment rights is obvious, he emphatically states that the gun debate was settled in 1791 when the 2nd Amendment was adopted to the U.S. Constitution. He lives the lifestyle as both a hunter and member of the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association and has also gone to bat on behalf of gun rights by challenging the Obama Administration and United Nations efforts to impinge on gun rights. Abbott is also a strong 10th Amendment proponent and the Texas sovereignty it protects; and, like the 2nd Amendment, puts the force of action behind his beliefs, suing the Obama Administration 29 times to keep the Federal government out of Texas' affairs. Greg Abbott has consistently proven his leadership, judgment, conservative credentials and commitment to the U.S. Constitution and Texas values during the course of his career from District Judge, Texas Supreme Court Justice and Texas Attorney General. For those who love the Constitution and want a proven leader whose actions match his words, there can be no other choice for Governor in 2014 than Greg Abbott.
Lieutenant Governor - Dan Patrick
With four serious candidates for Lieutenant Governor, TCR had the task of determining which one was most qualified to provide the leadership and conservative solutions to the challenges facing Texas. Our choice is Dan Patrick, who has what it takes to get beyond the rhetoric and get things done. When Texas Conservative Review endorsed Dan Patrick for Texas Senate in 2006, we had no doubt that he would be not only a solid vote on conservative issues, but also a leader on them. Since his election to the Texas Senate Dan Patrick has fulfilled our expectations and been a leader on issues important to conservatives including education reform, protection of the unborn, fiscal responsibility and border security. Through a combination of gutsy leadership, coalition building and unrelenting determination, Dan has successfully helped pass over 100 pieces of conservative legislation that include the historic sonogram bill, a $172 million tax cut and advances in school choice. Dan Patrick is the fighter we need to advance the conservative agenda and he is the fighter who can beat the Democrat in November. For those reasons and for the future of our great state, Texas Conservative Review enthusiastically endorses Dan Patrick for election as our next Lieutenant Governor.
Texas Attorney General - Barry Smitherman
It takes a special person to be an effective Texas Attorney General. The right AG has to be a capable lawyer with a legal background naturally; but, just as important is the ability to speak on behalf of the office, provide solid opinions and guidance, and to lead and manage a team. Attorney General Greg Abbott has been an effective Attorney General and unquestionably leaves extremely large shoes to fill as he steps up to, presumably, lead our ticket in 2014 as the Republican nominee for Governor. We at TCR believe that the best candidate to fill Greg Abbott's shoes as our next Attorney General is Barry Smitherman, who has the perfect combination of legal, executive and leadership experience that the job requires. The highlights of Barry Smitherman's distinguished career include leadership experience as Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and Chairman of the Public Utility Commission where he applied skills that he learned in his 17 years in the private sector to cut costs and make those agencies more effective. Barry Smitherman's legal background as a prosecutor coupled with his successful leadership of state agencies and practical private sector experience make him the best qualified and TCR's choice for our next Texas Attorney General.
Comptroller - Harvey Hilderbran
TCR recommends businessman and current State Representative Harvey Hilderbran of Kerrville for Texas Comptroller.
As the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in the Texas Legislature, Harvey has time and again stood with businesses and taxpayers alike. He has led the effort to cut red tape in tax collection, reduce regulations for filing taxes, and provide significant tax relief to businesses and consumers, over $1.4 billion in 2013 alone.
Additionally, in his career in the Texas Legislature, Harvey served as chairman of two other committees, passing major reform legislation. He wrote and passed 1995's landmark welfare reform legislation. In 1997, he was instrumental in passing the state's most significant legislation protecting residents of Texas nursing homes.
He is the only candidate for Texas Comptroller to receive a 100 percent vote rating in 2013 from the Texas Association of Business.
He is the only candidate to receive a "2013 Legislative Champion" award from the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
Most importantly, Harvey is the most substantive conservative candidate running in regards to public policy. He has developed a ten-point Performance Pledge to the Voters, which may be reviewed at HarveyForTexas.com. The top priority of his plan is passing a Texas Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which will level the playing field between taxpayers and the state.
TCR likes that Harvey's vision of the role of Texas Comptroller is simple. He wants to be both an advocate and a partner with job creators and taxpayers to grow the Texas economy. He is the best choice here.
Land Commissioner - George P. Bush
If anyone is curious about the face of the next generation of Republican leadership, they need look no further than George P. Bush. Bush, who is the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, grandson of President George H. W. Bush and nephew of President George W. Bush, has finally made what most have considered the inevitable entry into the political arena. The Texas-born George P. has a resume that is impressive, to say the least; it includes work as a teacher, attorney, civic leader, and founder of two companies. Did we mention that he is a military veteran? Well, he is -a naval officer- and won a Joint Service Commendation Medal (among other decorations) for his meritorious service in Afghanistan to prove it. TCR takes pride in giving a robust endorsement for this rising star who, in our opinion, can go as far as he wants to go. Today, Texas needs George P. Bush; but we can imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when the nation will come calling.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner - Tommy Merritt
We are recommending Representative Tommy Merritt for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in the 2014 Republican primary. Merritt is a business owner, former State Representative and previously served on the Sabine River Authority and as Director for the Gregg County Appraisal Board.
Agriculture Commissioner is one of those statewide offices that is critical to the state of Texas, but unfortunately does not receive the attention it deserves. After researching the race and the candidates, TCR has concluded that Tommy Merritt is the best choice to succeed Todd Staples as the next Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Tommy Merritt's unique perspective as a business owner and state representative along with appraisal district and Sabine River Authority experience make him uniquely qualified to lead the Agriculture Commission. Best of all, Tommy Merritt is campaigning on big, conservative solutions to Texas' challenges with his "4-Point Plan" that addresses the increasingly critical water shortage facing Texans, plans for the implementation of technology to keep Texas agriculture hi-tech and modern, securing the border to improve safety for family farmers, and appraisal reform to keep Texas agriculture competitive. TCR likes Merritt's experience and big conservative ideas and endorses him for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.
Railroad Commissioner - Malachi Boyuls
The energy industry is the lifeblood of Texas, which makes Texas Railroad Commissioner one of our most important elected offices. As a regulatory agency, the RRC can either facilitate growth with common sense regulation or bring it to an economy-busting grinding halt with a heavy regulatory hand. Malachi Boyuls understands this fact; both as a former environmental attorney where he discovered a passion and a gift for going toe-to-toe with the Federal Government on behalf of the private sector and also as the head of an investment firm that helps spur growth and create jobs in the energy industry. We also get the sense that Boyuls' passion for the industry makes the RRC post one that he views as a calling where he can truly make a difference, rather than a stepping stone to higher office. It is his combination of regulatory knowledge, private sector perspective and passion for the industry that makes Malachi Boyuls the best choice for Texas Railroad Commission.
Chief Justice Supreme Court - Robert Talton
The race for Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court is about more than just qualifications, which Robert Talton has along with an extremely unique perspective on criminal justice, he is a former police officer, judge and lawmaker. During his eight terms representing the people of Pasadena in the Texas Legislature, Talton earned a reputation as a staunch conservative, unwilling to compromise on the issues important to him and his constituents. Whether on patrol, in the courtroom or on the floor of the Texas House, Robert Talton is no stranger to tough fights and this campaign for the Supreme Court is no different; he faces an entrenched 24-year incumbent in an uphill battle that he is fighting because it is the right thing to do. Talton's opponent you see, violated judicial ethics, was caught doing it and fined for it; but the story doesn't stop there. For five years, this same judge, Nathan Hecht, has thumbed his nose at the law and refused to accept his punishment and pay the $29,000 fine. All this from someone who is supposed to uphold the law, not ignore it. We like Robert Talton for his unique perspective as a former police officer, judge and lawmaker and for the fact that he respects the law, unlike his opponent who apparently believes he is above it.
Justice Supreme Court Place 8 - Sharon McCally
Sharon McCally has a distinguished legal career, first as an attorney in private practice, then as Judge of the 334th District Court from 2004 until 2010 when she was elected to the 14th Court of Appeals. With both extensive trial and appellate experience and with high bar poll ratings, Sharon McCally has had a remarkable judicial career and will no doubt carry her same standards of excellence to the Texas Supreme Court. TCR knows she will be the kind of conservative "follow the law" judge we need.
Court of Criminal Appeals Place 3 - Judge Bert Richardson
With an unrivaled depth and breadth of experience, Judge Bert Richardson is far and away the best choice for Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3. Judge Richardson has over 25 years of trial experience (of which 10 is as a trial judge), is the only candidate with Board Certification in Criminal Law and also the only one with trial experience at both the State and Federal levels. Judge Bert Richardson's experience and qualifications make him the best choice for CCA, Place 3.
Court of Criminal Appeals Place 4 - Kevin Patrick Yeary
Kevin Patrick Yeary has the most extensive experience with the Court of Criminal Appeals that we could find for any of the candidates for the CCA, Place 4. Kevin Patrick Yeary started his career at the CCA as a briefing attorney and has spent most of his 22 year career practicing before the CCA as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, which offers a unique perspective and advantage over his rivals. Based on his experience at the Court of Criminal Appeals, Kevin Patrick Yeary will be able to make a difference on the Court from day one and earns TCR's vote for those reasons.
Court of Criminal Appeals Place 9 - David Newell
David Newell has the combination of experience, qualifications and scholarly legal insight that we like to see on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Newell is Board Certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law and is currently a Harris County Assistant District Attorney in the Appellate Division, which has allowed him to appear before not only the CCA, but also Texas Supreme Court and intermediate courts of appeals. Additionally, as a prolific author and speaker on legal issues, Newell has demonstrated legal expertise and communication skills that will further enhance his contribution to the Court. Best of all, Newell has an obvious passion for appellate law, which we believe will be invaluable in his service. TCR is proud to recommend David Newell for the Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9.
Texas State Senate District 7 - Paul Bettencourt
Like his political hero Ronald Reagan, Paul Bettencourt is a principled conservative who thinks about the taxpayer first, not last. He has a great background as a GOP party leader, a strong family man, a small businessman, and former Tax Assessor-Collector.
Over the last 20 years it is hard to think of any major conservative policy effort in Harris County Paul didn't help lead. He will be a difference maker in Austin with relentless focus on conservative public policy.
It is often said you know someone by their opponents. Paul has been a bête noire to the left wing media in Texas.
His opponent is forever losing challenges to Representative Debbie Riddle (by almost 4 -1), has no message except he wants to be a Senator and he has the support of liberal education PAC's.
In this race there is no choice - elect Bettencourt in the State Senate, and we can all celebrate.
Texas State Senate District 17 - Joan Huffman
A respected former District Judge and prosecutor, Joan Huffman is seeking a third term in the Texas Senate and TCR recommends she be elected. While in the senate she has demonstrated strong conservative leadership on criminal justice, fiscal responsibility, economic development, and children's health and education.
When we endorsed her in 2008 we commented, "Huffman's life story is inspiring. She was a secretary who became a top prosecutor and then an effective and popular Criminal District Court Judge. Joan has proven in her career that she stands firm on conservative principles. Whether it's illegal immigration, health care, education, or taxes, Huffman will be on the right side for us ... Joan's distinguished career reflects the character we need in the Texas Senate in these challenging times." What was true in 2008 is still true.
Texas State Representative District 129 - Dennis Paul
TCR endorses State Republican Executive Committee Member Dennis Paul for election to State Representative District 129 in the 2014 Republican primary. Paul, a business owner and longtime grassroots activist, seeks to succeed Representative John Davis, who is not seeking reelection.
TCR has great respect for grassroots leaders like Dennis Paul who pay their dues by fighting for conservative principles before becoming candidates for public office. Dennis Paul's long history of service on behalf of conservative causes and candidates along with his conservative philosophy and big ideas make him the best choice to represent House District 129. TCR wholeheartedly recommends a vote for Dennis Paul on the March 4th Republican primary ballot.
State Representative, District 132 - Mike Schofield
State Representative Bill Callegari's retirement in District 132 has drawn a field of four to replace the veteran lawmaker. In this race, TCR likes Mike Schofield for his long time involvement in the GOP and for his extensive public policy experience that he has honed over the past 10+ years as a public policy advisor to Governor Rick Perry on a range of issues including Voter ID, eminent domain, and appraisal cap reductions. Schofield's background, intelligence, dedication to service, and public policy acumen and experience in Austin will help him to be an effective force in the Legislature from the beginning without the usual learning curve associated with freshmen legislators. TCR recommends a vote for Mike Schofield and the conservative public policy expertise he brings to the job.
State Representative, District 149 - Nghi T. Ho
It will take a strong Republican to defeat incumbent Democrat Hubert Vo in this competitive district and TCR believes that Nghi T. Ho is the best-qualified candidate to reclaim this seat for conservatives in November. Nghi T. Ho's extensive roots in District 149 date back nearly three decades when he attended public school in Alief ISD before going to University of Texas at Austin on a Navy ROTC scholarship. Upon graduation, Nghi served our nation as a naval officer in the Persian Gulf War before returning home to embark on a career in financial planning. Nghi T. Ho has not only the business experience that we like to see put to work in the Legislature, but also a history of leadership and community involvement that make him best suited to win the District 149 race. He is also not another politician looking for another job. Ho just wants to be in the legislature and represent District 149.
State Representative District 150 - Debbie Riddle
Some elected officials are stars within their districts, they take care of their constituents, vote right and do exactly what is expected of them. Others though, go far beyond what is expected, causing their stars to shine well beyond the borders of their own districts. Debbie Riddle is a perfect example of the latter. She has been a standard-bearer for conservative issues ranging from border security to the Second Amendment to Voter ID. So much so in fact, that she has been featured favorably on Fox News and ridiculed by the likes of The Daily Kos, and the New York Daily News. The fact that Debbie Riddle is a target of the liberal establishment in places as far flung as California and New York should be a good indicator that she is effective right here in Texas. There is nothing wrong doing what is expected, but when voters have a conservative leader representing their district, they should fight to keep her. For that reason, TCR offers an unequivocal endorsement for State Representative Debbie Riddle's bid for re-election to continue representing the citizens of House District 150.
Justice 1st Court of Appeals Place 3 - Dan Linebaugh
As an attorney and founder of a law firm, Dan Linebaugh has not only a solid foundation of legal expertise developed over the last 20 years of law practice, but also the unique perspective of a small business owner. This business experience is an asset on the Court of Appeals, which handles appeals not only in criminal cases, but also in civil cases, those involving disputes between parties. The idea that a judge who deals with civil cases has a real worldview and practical experience on which to base his decisions is one that we would like to see more often.
District Judge 246th District Court - Charley Prine
In the race for the 246th District Court, TCR recommends a vote for Judge Charley Prine. TCR's endorsement of Judge Prine is based on both his judicial experience as well as a 20+ year distinguished legal career. As Associate Judge of the 309th District Court, Judge Prine has proven himself to be effective, fair and considerate of all who appear in the court and there is no doubt that he will apply those same impeccable standards to the 246th District Court, and he is a life long Republican.
District Judge 247th District Court - M. L. Walker
With nearly seven years' judicial experience, Judge M.L. Walker is by far the most qualified to take the reins of the 247th Family Court from retiring Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums. With her history, experience and working knowledge of the Court, Judge Walker will be ready to run the Court from day one. Best of all, Judge Walker has a solid conservative record and a reputation for treating all parties with respect and understanding, which is a critical quality in a family court judge.
District Judge 263rd District Court - Jim Wallace
An experienced jurist completing 20 years on the bench. Judge Jim Wallace is a Board Certified Specialist in criminal law, an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law and a co-author of Criminal Pattern Jury Charges published by the State Bar of Texas.
Judge Wallace is a former Assistant District attorney and is known for his conservatism on the bench. TCR wholeheartedly supports Judge Wallace's re-election. Let's keep him working hard for us.
District Judge 269th District Court - John Wittenmyer
Judicial temperament, respect and the competence and maturity developed over many years of a successful career are all qualities that make a great judge; and these are all qualities TCR sees in John Wittenmyer, a candidate for the 269th District Court. Wittenmyer has established a solid reputation over the course of his 37 year legal career in our community; it is a reputation that includes not only superior legal qualifications, he has earned the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating of AV Preeminent, but also one of a professional demeanor and respect for the law. John Wittenmyer and his 37 years of experience will be a huge asset to the people of Harris County.
District Judge 311th District Court - Alicia Franklin
In the race for the 311th District (Family) Court, TCR offers an enthusiastic endorsement of Alicia Franklin, who faces an embattled incumbent accused of ethical and legal impropriety. The political consequences notwithstanding, this is one of those instances where we must get our own house in order and do the right thing, first and foremost, simply because it is the right thing for our community who relies on our Family Courts during some of the most difficult times a family can face. Alicia Franklin has the experience, the qualifications, the temperament and above all the untarnished reputation that make her the most qualified to lead the 311th District Court in the future.
County Criminal Court at Law No. 10 - Dan Jeffrey Spjut
Dan Spjut has already had one successful career in criminal justice, it is a career with the Houston Police Department that spanned 27 years and one in which he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. While working full time at HPD, Dan was also a full time student, earning both his Bachelors and Law Degrees at night. Dan Spjut's work ethic, unique law enforcement perspective and lifelong commitment to law and order and his real courtroom experience make him the best choice for Judge of County Criminal Court at Law No 10.
Harris County District Clerk - Chris Daniel
TCR endorses Chris Daniel for re-election as the Harris County District Clerk. Daniel, who was elected in 2010, is seeking the nomination on the March 4th Republican Primary ballot.
Chris Daniel was endorsed by us in 2010 and has provided effective conservative leadership at the office of Harris County District Clerk. Since taking office, Mr. Daniel has implemented many measures to increase the effectiveness of the office, improve access for constituents and cut costs to save taxpayer dollars. We believe that Chris Daniel's performance during the past four years has earned him TCR's support for re-election as Harris County District Clerk. Like so many primary races this cycle, this was not an easy choice as his primary opponent also brings a lot to the table. In the end we decided to "dance with who brung us."
Examples of Daniel's accomplishments include continued automation and technology implementation, expansion of services such as Passport filings, improvements to the Jury Service database, changes to the HCDC website that now allow citizens to reschedule Jury service online and an overhaul of office staff to direct more resources to customer service.
Harris County Treasurer - Orlando Sanchez
To many conservatives, Orlando Sanchez has achieved a sort of folk hero status. In his early political career, Sanchez, who holds a degree in political science from the University of Houston, ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for State Representative and then lost again in two campaigns for Mayor of the City Houston, offering one of the best hopes to install a conservative as Houston's chief executive. Before running for Mayor though, Sanchez scored an electoral victory that landed him on Houston City Council where he served three terms. On City Council, Sanchez earned a reputation as a conservative standard-bearer, resulting in a Political Courage Award from the Harris County Republican Party for his leadership on a mostly liberal Houston City Council. Orlando Sanchez was elected Harris County Treasurer in 2006 and has performed effectively during his two terms in office earning him TCR's recommendation for re-election on the March 4th ballot.
County School Trustee At Large Place 5 - Mike Wolfe
Mike Wolfe was first elected to the Harris County Department of Education in 2006. In 2012, Wolfe was narrowly defeated by the Democrat, but is on the ballot again hoping to return to the office. Since he was first elected, Wolfe has been an outspoken advocate for the abolishment or, barring that outcome, the radical reorganization of the entity that he has called a "massive bureaucracy" with a "$100 million annual budget." In a world where elected officials typically cling to power using any means necessary, it is refreshing to discover someone like Wolfe who isn't afraid to expose an organization's warts, even at the potential cost of his own political position. Voters have the chance to return a real conservative to the HCDE board when they vote on March 4th and we hope they take advantage of the opportunity.
County School Trustee At Large Place 7 - Don Sumners
TCR endorses Don Sumners, who is running for Harris County Department of Education (HCDE), At Large Pos. 7 to your voter list of preferred candidates. Don has my respect as a CPA that applies his business knowledge to reducing the size of government, and he is a longtime Republican activist who was elected Harris County Treasurer in 1994 and last served the county as Tax Assessor-Collector through 2012. Paul Bettencourt hired Don as the first CPA in the Tax office’s history in 1999.
During that time Don earned the reputation as a 'taxpayer watchdog' who never backed down from fighting for fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency. As County Treasurer he sought to hold the line on tax rates and pointed out wasteful spending. Working for Paul Bettencourt he helped fight for tax reduction and taxpayer fairness and continued the effort as Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector, successfully lobbying for an increase in the City of Houston over-65 exemption in 2012.
Don will bring his eighteen years of government experience to help reform the operation and policies of the Harris County Department of Education. For several years, conservative activists have been critical of HCDE's operations and the board's failure to demand accountability and transparency of the administration. Don stopped an unneeded and excessive HCDE property tax rate increase in 2012, and he wants to help bring true conservative reforms to the Department of Education.
Again, please vote Don Sumners for County School Trustee At Large, Pos. 7
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2 - Judge Laryssa Korduba
After 30+ years on the Bench, Judge Tom Lawrence is stepping down as Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4, Place 2. Out of the field of five candidates, TCR believes that Judge Laryssa Korduba is the most qualified to fill the vacancy created by Judge Tom Lawrence's retirement. Korduba and one other candidate are the only two in the race who are attorneys and, though not required to serve as a Justice of the Peace, TCR feels that a legal background is a definite benefit to performing the duties of a judge. In addition to experience as an attorney, Korduba -a municipal court judge- is the only candidate in the race with judicial experience. Korduba also brings business experience and big ideas to the office with plans to utilize technology to modernize and take the office "paperless" to improve efficiency. As the only candidate in the race with solid business, legal and judicial experience, Judge Laryssa Korduba will be able to hit the ground running from Day 1 and is TCR’s choice for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2.
Justice of the Peace Pct. 5, Place 2 - Jeff Williams
Nearly 9,000 cases per month are filed with the Justice of the Peace courts in Precinct 5 which makes it no place for beginners. Fortunately, Judge Jeff Williams, who is in the final year of his first term serving the 1-million+ residents of Precinct 5, is no beginner. Before taking over as the Precinct 5, Place 2 Justice of the Peace, Williams had an impressive 30+ year career as an attorney; it is this experience that has enabled him to earn a solid record of performance in his first term and TCR's endorsement for re-election to a second term so that he may continue his service to the people of Precinct 5.
Harris County Republican Chairman - Jared Woodfill
TCR recommends incumbent Chairman Jared Woodfill for re-election. Jared is in his eleventh year as Chair and is getting better and better. An outstanding advocate for the GOP and its candidates, he has led the party to large victories, except in the 2008 Obama landslide, and even then we won many countywide races. In 2012, we swept Harris County except in a narrow loss for Mitt Romney!
These victories facing the undertow of weak Presidential or Gubernatorial candidates tells us all we need to know about Jared's effectiveness.
Jared's aggressive outreach program and the expanding footprint of the GOP are all wonderful incentives.
Jared also is on the front lines in support of the party's economic and social conservative agenda, most recently leading the fight against Mayor Annise Parker's partner benefits executive order.
His opponent is a perennial candidate for party Chair who was terminated as the HCRP general counsel over 13 years ago for abandoning his position when the liberal media attacked him and the party. He has done nothing for the party since that would lead one to believe he would be an improvement over Jared. In fact, he would be a major setback.
The GOP primary voters should thank Jared for his long, uncompensated, successful service to the party with a resounding re-election.
Is A Circular Firing Squad
Forming In The Texas GOP?
It appears Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment, "thou shall speak no ill of a fellow Republican," is being ripped to shreds in the 2014 primary. If anything can turn this state blue, it is intra-party warfare.
There have been a number of disturbing developments in the last week: (1) the forming of a so-called business PAC formed to defeat conservative stalwart Dan Patrick, (2) the sizable investment by out of county special interests to oust long-time social and economic conservative Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill, (3) the multipronged attack on what critics called "Harris County GOP slates," all funded by the same special interests who desire to drive the social conservatives out of the party and defeat its leaders.
TCR has always subscribed to the concept that the party should be open to economic and social conservatives alike and that we should unite in support of the 80%+ of the issues on which we agree.
Recently in the news and blogs, so-called "slates" are under attack. Most recently, Republican House Representative Patricia Harless took the lead for the complainers. Also complaining are non-Republican run groups that at the same time publish their own slates, who are essentially saying, "Don't trust their slates. Trust ours."
TCR does not offer blanket support of endorsement slates or the way other groups formulate their endorsements. TCR has always strived to be completely transparent in our process to both candidates and voters. We believe that we have a process that is fair, objective and easy to understand. Just to remind Patricia Harless and the pseudo slates - TCR interviews candidates and endorses them based on our economic and social conservative philosophy, political viability, records of accomplishment and then tells voters why. It's up to the voters, empowered with information, to decide. And yes, relationships do matter, as was the case in the SD 7 race when we endorsed Paul Bettencourt based on a 30-year friendship and the fact that Paul is a conservative policy wonk with a successful record as a leader on issues and public policy initiatives. If you want to know the truth, it is actually the SD 7 race that is at the heart of Harless' new found anti-slate zeal. Last year, when it appeared that Dan Patrick's Senate seat was opening, Patricia's husband Sam Harless became interested in running and began looking for support for his candidacy, including support from TCR. We were upfront with Harless and informed him of the longstanding relationship with Bettencourt, our respect for Paul and what he has done for conservatives and for the value that we place on loyalty. It was only after Harless was turned down did Patricia Harless adopt her current anti-slate position, which is really the motivation, in a microcosm, behind most of the endorsement slate critics, they have no problem with endorsement slates until they are passed over for endorsement. This goes for slate critics Ed Hubbard and Paul Simpson, who both sought, but were denied, endorsements in their races. Simpson and Hubbard have both even supported one well-known publication with numerous payments of tens of thousands of dollars, up to including $5,000 by Simpson as late as 2013. It seems that if you support the slates when you think you have a chance of getting their support, but then oppose them when they select your opponent, you run the risk of being called a hypocrite.
As for the attacks on Michael Schofield in State Representative District 132, here are the facts:
Harless says Mike is not from the district and only moved in to run for office. She implies that if you haven't lived within the boundaries of HD 132 for an extended period of time, you have no right to represent the voters. However, she doesn't live in HD 132, but wants to tell the voters who vote for.
Mike Schofield has been involved in Harris County Republican politics for almost two decades, served previously as the leader on the HCRP Finance Committee, founded the Harris County "November Team," was a leader of the Harris County based R Club and was elected as delegate to every state GOP convention since 1998.
Harless says Schofield overstates his involvement with Voter I.D. Harless wants to pretend no work was been done regarding voter I.D. until it as passed in 2011. I'm sure Representative Bohac who was Vice-Chair of the Elections Committee during 2011 or Todd Smith who was Chairman of Elections in 2009 when the first Voter I.D. bill was introduced, would argue that point. Even our own Paul Bettencourt will tell you he has been working for years on this issue and it didn't start and end during the 81st session. Mike Schofield was a key player in the Governor's office with the Voter I.D. legislation as the point man for the Governor's office, and he was instrumental in getting the legislation to where it needed to be so that it finally passed in 2011.
If Representative Harless bothered to ask state legislators who worked on bills ranging from tort reform, eminent domain, private property rights, and voter I.D., she would hear how Mike Schofield was involved and he was a hard worker who understands the complexity of the laws and is a fighter of our conservative values. And that's why we need him in the Texas House.
Don't Be Fooled By The Big Lie,
Woodfill Deserves Re-election
Recently, incumbent Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill has come under attack by his principal and four-time opponent, Paul Simpson.
Simpson and his campaign have attacked Jared on a broad front in the most negative campaign that we can remember.
As a public service, let's fact check the attacks on Jared:
Simpson's False Accusations:
Lack of transparency in party finances.
HCRP fully complies with and reports all money raised and spent per state law. These reports are all public information and easily accessed online. Jared also formed the HCRP Audit Committee to provide financial controls and additional layer of transparency.
Woodfill was sued regarding a collection matter involving his firm.
The civil dispute was resolved just like the lawsuit for fraud filed against Simpson and his own law firm was resolved. Neither are real issues in the Chair race.
Democrats won more in 2008. Perry lost Harris County in 2010. The Party lost most of the county-wide races in 2012.
2008 was the Obama landslide. Jared led a county-wide sweep in 2010 except for Rick Perry who lost in Harris County to popular former Democratic Mayor Bill White. In 2012 Jared led the party to victory, with a GOP straight ticket vote record of 404,000, and picked up 7 formerly democratic seats. Today county-wide there are 80 Republicans and only 13 Democrats in office.
Jared took money from a prominent Texas Democratic trial lawyer.
He did not, but what Jared did do is receive a donation of $1,000 from the Family Values PAC who has given to scores of GOP candidates. Simpson on the other hand raised about 80% of his funds reported in his February 10th 2014 letter - by 10 people, including Austin special interests. The question he is not answering is, why are special interests sending huge checks to him? What are they buying?
Jared received $129,000 in court appointments in the 311th District Court.
Jared is a respected attorney who as a part of his practice is representing children in Child Protective cases and he received $9,000 last year from the 311th.
Jared takes advantage of Judges in the courthouse as GOP Chair.
Another attack without substance, Jared uses his legal abilities to advance conservatism suing Mayor Parker on partner benefits, Nick Lampson on illegal political contributions, Dr. Karpen an abortion doctor, and tried the first parental notice case to protect an unborn child.
Per Simpson, "The county party has spent some $45,000 this past year... and is still not in operation" on his voter contact program.
"R Votes" is operational and is considered a cutting edge voter contact program. HCRP has had 7 training sessions - Simpson hasn't shown up yet. If he were to be more involved, he might have a better understanding.
Precinct chair numbers have dropped over the last 20 years.
The number of precincts fluctuates due to redistricting; additionally there is no correlation between precinct chair numbers and electoral success. Simpson, despite his representations to the contrary, never recruited any precinct chairs to our knowledge. And the voting numbers in his own precinct were declining for awhile before he quit as precinct chair.
HCRP is in financial trouble with "less than $48,000 on hand."
The HCRP is financially secure with over $200,000 in the bank. The party has budget and audit committees which regulate party spending.
Jared is part of pay for play.
Not true-Simpson sought the same endorsements Jared did and even asked the Link Letter to return his ad monies after they endorsed Jared Woodfill. Who was looking to pay to play?
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
This week: Howard Dean.
Coming soon: Steve Murdock of Rice University, Author of The New Texas Challenge: Population Change and the Future of Texas.
Ambassador Chase Untermeyer, Author of the new book When Things Were Right - The Dawn of the Reagan-Bush Administration.
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About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twelve years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 10 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his twelfth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.