Eat ’em up, Republicans

Nothing like a hearty diet of eating your own, as the Quorum Report describes.

For months now, rumors have swirled around the capital that operatives of Dr. James Leininger were recruiting primary opponents for House voucher opponents, specifically Carter Casteel, Charlie Geren, Delwin Jones, Roy Blake and Tommy Merritt.

However, on January 10th of this year, Dr. Leininger appeared on a panel about school vouchers at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event in Austin.

When quizzed by reporters afterwards, Dr. Leininger seemed to distance himself from efforts to unseat House Republicans. He told Associated Press, “For 15 years I’ve tried to support people who support school choice and I guess that means opposing people, in a sense, that are against school choice. I’ll focus more on open seats, it’s hard to beat incumbents, is a lot more productive to focus on open seats and hopefully protect incumbents that believe the way you believe, and oppose people that don’t believe what you believe”

Nevertheless, a newly formed General Purpose PAC appears to be the vehicle for organizing the challenge and promoting pro-voucher Republican candidates.

The Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (TRLCC) was formed on October 18th. It’s report identifies only two contributors, Dr. James Leininger for $50,000 and John Norwood of Midland for $100.

Leininger’s PAC made only three expenditures during the reporting period. The largest was to consulting firm Anthem Media for $20,000. Anthem Media is owned by Republican consultant Jeff Norwood from Midland who may or may not be related to the Norwood in the report.

Although Anthem Media has not yet appeared on Contribution and Expenditure Reports for the five challengers, we have verified that the company is working with media buying firm Crossroads Media in the Nathan Macias race against Carter Casteel. Crossroads has also surfaced doing the media buys for Mark Williams who is running against Tommy Merritt.. There may be more. The media buys took place after January 1, so they will presumably appear on the next report.

Lying may be a sin, but the Scriptures are apparently murky on the subject of non-denial denials. If you’re in one of these districts and spot any not-clearly-sourced attack ads or mailers against your Rep, please let me know about it.

On a more positive note, Katy Hubener got the Texas State Teachers Association endorsement. Here’s the press release:

The Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) today announced its endorsement of a strong advocate of public education and public school employees, Katy Hubener, in the February special election for the District 106 seat vacated by the resignation of Ray Allen.

“I appreciate the support of Texas teachers in this special election,” Hubener said. “They work hard and expect their elected representatives to work hard, too. I will.”

Hubener, who has an undergraduate degree in education from Texas Tech University and is a certified Texas classroom teacher, said the special election should focus on one issue: who will represent the mainstream values of the community in this spring’s special legislative session on public school finance.

“It’s critical that we stabilize the current tax system so that we can afford to pay teachers what they’re worth,” Hubener said. “I know firsthand that no profession is more important to our future.”

TSTA President Donna Haschke urged voters who value public schools and their children’s education to turn out for Hubener in the February 28, special election.

“Katy will continue to be a strong voice for improving the salary and benefits of active and retired public school employees,” Haschke said.

“We need someone who will fight to stop those who want to take our tax dollars away from public schools to pay for the private education of a privileged few to attend private schools,” Haschke said. “Katy will work to provide our public schools the funding they need to give all our children an opportunity to succeed.”

It’s two weeks till the HD48 runoff, four weeks till the HD106 special election, and five weeks till Primary day. February will be an especially busy month this year.

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