June 16, 2005
A stir in SD3

Well, well. A Republican candidate for the to-be-vacated SD3 seat has accused outgoing Sen. Todd Staples of asking him to drop out in favor of another candidate.

Saying that "back room politics are alive and well in East Texas," state Senate District 3 candidate David Kleimann, of Willis, claimed Tuesday that Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, has asked him to drop out of the race because the seat has been promised to another candidate.

Officials with the Staples campaign called the allegation "ridiculous."

During a press conference in the Montgomery County Commissioners Courtroom, Kleimann, standing with his wife Kim and daughter Meredith, read a prepared statement in front of approximately two dozen supporters and spectators, saying that he had been asked by many people in East Texas to run for Staples' Senate seat.

"However, last week, on Tuesday, June 7, at around 11:30 in the morning," Kleimann said, "I received a phone call from Senator Todd Staples. He asked me to drop out of this race. He said this Senate seat, and I quote, 'has been promised to another man.'

"According to Staples, who is not going to run for the Senate again, he and many in Austin have already hand-picked his replacement."


Kleimann stated that the man promised Staples' seat is Robert Nichols, of Jacksonville, who recently said he is considering throwing his hat in the ring if Staples runs for Agriculture Commissioner.

Speaking forcefully, Kleimann said, "We're going to let the people's voice be heard. Why are we a Republican-controlled House and Senate and still having tax increases?"


Kleimann was obviously angry by the alleged phone call from Staples.

"I've worked with him on many issues; we think alike on many issues," he said. "This is a stab in the back. I told him, 'How could I possibly back out?'

"I was shocked."


Nichols, appointed to the Texas Transportation Commission by then-Gov. George W. Bush and reappointed by Perry, is the owner of Robert Nichols Industries and has served as a Jacksonville City Council member and its mayor. He denied any knowledge of Staples promising him the SD3 seat.

"That's not a conversation I was privy to," he said. "I've never heard of elected seats being promised to anyone. That would definitely be an improper thing to say. It would be hard for one to believe Senator Staples would say that."

In a previous Courier story about Kleimann and SD3 candidate Frank Denton, a Conroe businessman, Staples' chief of staff, Shannon Rusing, said it would be "inappropriate" for Staples to comment on any SD3 candidate since he had not yet formally announced his candidacy for Agriculture Commissioner.

But in a recent story about Nichols published in the Jacksonville Progress, Staples was quoted as saying, "Robert Nichols has a distinguished record of accomplishment for Texas. ... His leadership on local and state issues would make him an extremely productive voice in the Texas Senate."

PinkDome picked this up from the Quorum Report, and they have a followup here. And you thought the GOP gubernatorial primary was going to be where all the action will be.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 16, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

HA! "Promised" a seat ?? Kuff, I could see through that one the instant I read it! :^D

My objective and unbiased analysis: there is something very wrong with Kleimann's version of events here. It is a very fishy story.

Staples has been in the leg since 1995 and Texas legislators, democrat or republican, don't EVER talk like that about elected positions, especially not in "private."

"Promised" a seat is a language reserved for appointed positions only. (In the first place, they all know they can't "promise" an election outcome in a primary race and would not be taken seriously if they said something like that.)

And members of the leg --- especially those running for higher office --- are not gonna call up someone they do not know well, and ask them to drop out of a race. That's about as stupid a political stunt as I could imagine anyone pulling. This is one of the many reasons asking someone to drop out is the county chair's job.

And, they would have to be able to offer something in return, and if Kleimann had been offered a quid pro quo, believe me, the way he is acting, he would have made any suggested qpq part of the headline.

My guess -- unless Kleimann just made it all up --- is that, at the very most, Staples confided to Kleimann that he had already promised to personally support Nichols, and Kleimann is exaggerating and distorting this to get attention and create sympathy.

A hint: Kleimann is also playing up rumours about Nichol's personal wealth, and while that is a ridiculous issue to raise in a gop primary because republicans respect self-made businessmen, it clearly demonstrates a certain predisposition toward unwarranted and even counter-productive nastiness on Kleimannn's part.

One thing's for sure, the charge has brought attention to Mr. Kleimann. :^D

Posted by: ttyler5 on June 17, 2005 6:05 AM

ttyler5, I think you're right on the money. What I'm interested in knowing is who in the hell is consulting Kleimann? Personally attacking the individual who is vacating the seat? What does Kleimann gain from that? If anything, I think it works to his disadvantage - it sends a message of insecurity and fear. Staples may be on the up and up, and Republicans know how to keep this in the back of their files until they need it...

Posted by: media_hack on June 17, 2005 2:44 PM

TTyler5, what type of allegations has Kleimann been making of Nichol's wealth?

I now live in the Montgomery county area and my wife knows some people that personally know Kleimann and say he is a stand-up guy. They have very nice things to say about him.

I on the other hand am from Jacksonville and have known Robert for all my life. I know how hard he has worked for his wealth and how good he treats everyone.

What can be negative about a man who has created so much wealth for an entire town. Jacksonville would look like an entirely different place without Mr. Nichols (and not in a good way).

Posted by: Margauritaville on June 30, 2005 4:11 PM

Bob Reeves of Center, TX has announced he will run for Todd Staples seat. Having been his assistant for several years, I can tell you that I will do everything within my power to stop him from getting elected. I know this man's character and I am frightened at the thought!

Posted by: Deborah Shriver on July 19, 2005 12:26 AM