As we enter the voting part of primary season, it's good to see some coverage around the state of Republican moneybags James Leininger and his attempt to install five sycophants into the Lege. The stakes involved in his almost seven-figure campaign to oust Republican incumbents he deems unworthy are summed up in this Statesman story.
The outcome next month could speak volumes about whether Republican lawmakers can oppose major legislation backed by House leaders and conservative activists without digging their own political graves.
"If those people survive, others will be emboldened," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "If they don't, others will be intimidated."
Meanwhile, this Star Telegram piece offers a laugh:
Hatley's campaign director characterized as "absurd" and "absolutely false" any suggestion that the candidate would kowtow to Leininger. He said the San Antonio contributor made the donations because he appreciates Hatley's conservative credentials.
"I don't know about any of those other campaigns, but we're running hard here," Watson said.
But Watson also confirmed that a Leininger-financed PAC had made an "in-kind" contribution by donating the services of political consultant Jeff Norwood. According to campaign reports, Leininger's PAC provided similar in-kind donations of Norwood's services to candidates Christian, Macias, Williams and Wilson.
Contacted in East Texas, Christian acknowledged that the Leininger-backed PAC is almost completely funding his campaign. He also said Norwood's consulting company has provided polling, consulting, and other services.
But like Hatley, the East Texas politician says Leininger has no control over his politics. If these are cookie-cutter campaigns, said Christian, "then I'm running the entire cookie cutter."