February 21, 2006
Leininger's lineup

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."

I've blogged before about how Tom Craddicks' Speakership is potentially at risk here, something which Houtopia also notes today. Watch these races carefully. Link via South Texas Chisme.

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."

Of course you are, dear. And there is no Matrix, either. Link via ItPT.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 21, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack


Thanks for keeping this on the front burner. Even though it's taking place in "their" primary, I think it is one of the most interesting and potentially far-reaching components of this year's primaries.

The implications for Craddick could be dramatic, and I hope they are. I have seen some of the blog comments of the supporters of Leininger's sycophants--primarily on dallasblog--and these folks are rabid--like something out of the old John Birch Society days.

Posted by: Ken Molberg on February 21, 2006 10:48 AM

But like Hatley, the East Texas politician says Leininger has no control over his politics.

That's probably true, at least technically, but talk about weasel words!

Leininger wouldn't be funding their campaigns if their ideology wasn't pretty much in line with his own in the first place!

That's the problem with allowing unlimited campaign donations. It's not that the individual candidates will change their positions to match their donors (although that undoubtedly happens from time to time too). It's that the donors can amplify their favored candidates' voices to the point that their opponents can't get their message out.

You don't have to corrupt a candidate to corrupt an election. Anyone who pretends otherwise is just spreading BS.

Posted by: Mathwiz on February 21, 2006 4:53 PM