A couple of things have become pretty clear in the GOP runoff in HD-52so far, these two candidates (Larry Gonzales and John Gordon) don’t like each other very much (hopefully is political and not personal), and the issues that matter to voters in the district don’t seem to be playing much of a part in either candidates effort. They attack each other, one saying the other is a meanie, the other saying his opponent is a shill for a rich corporate donor. And that’s where the conundrum comes in for the voters it seems. Do they go with the guy who’s going to run the same campaign Diana Maldonado’s losing opponent ran two years ago, or the guy with long ties in the county and an colorful record?
News 8 Austin has a report where one candidate accuses the other of attacking his wife, while the other denies he’s been bought.
The RRL accuses both candidate of “sniping“.
And this recent AAS article points out more troubling issues for the candidates, Emotions heat up in Republican runoff.
A Web site called thetruejohngordon.com also attempts to highlight Gordon’s temper. The site contains many of the same accusations as in Gonzales’ ads but also offers court documents to back up its claims and calls Gordon a “lawbreaker” for the speeding convictions and his arrest after damaging the parking boot.
The site was paid for by Houston-based Texas 1836 PAC . A phone call and e-mail to Larry Massey , who is listed as the PAC’s treasurer, were not returned.
Gonzales says he doesn’t know Massey and wasn’t aware of the PAC until he received contributions from it.
Campaign finance reports filed Monday with the Texas Ethics Commission show Texas 1836 PAC contributed $16,520 to Gonzales’ campaign from Feb. 21 through Saturday . According to a filing by Texas 1836 PAC, the Gonzales campaign was the only campaign the group supported.
Gordon says the ads are half-truths from a campaign that knows it’s losing.
“I’ve been around for 33 years,” Gordon said. “Most people know I am not a hothead. I am a leader. I’m passionate in trying to protect people’s interests.”
He said it’s true that he attempted, unsuccessfully, to pry open a parking boot in 1994 and was arrested for it.
But he explained that the City of Austin had been issuing parking tickets unfairly around the Capitol, where he worked as an aide to Krusee, and he didn’t think the boot should have been placed on his vehicle.
He said he hired the private investigator to interview people in Eacono’s neighborhood after he became suspicious that she didn’t live in the district.
He later sued Eacono to have her named removed from the ballot because he said she lived outside of the district. But Gordon dropped the suit after Eacono received 8 percent of the vote in the primary.
Gordon also denied allegations by Leo Wood , who accused Gordon of threatening to beat him up. Wood sued the county Republican Party after the county chairman refused to accept his application for a place on the ballot because he didn’t correctly fill out his address. The allegation was included in the lawsuit.
“It was in a room full of people, and nobody heard what Leo claimed,” Gordon said.
And he said he was upset during the traffic stop because he believed the officer had put his family in danger by stopping the car on a rainy day on a road without a shoulder. By saying “all the way up,” he said he meant the municipal prosecutor, who later dismissed the ticket.
What’s troubling is not only Gonzales’ purported ignorance of Massey and his PAC, but his ambivalence to knowing about someone who is not only giving him money, but someone who is attacking his opponent on his behalf. It makes it look as if he subscribes to the theory “the enemy of my opponent is my friend”, no matter who they are or what they do, as long as they have a big bank account.
Another aspect of this that the PAC’s money, according to his runoff ethics filing [.pdf] (see pages 18 – 19), that was donated went specifically for “web development” and the printing and postage of three mailers. Which would lead one to believe that his campaign paid for the web site that the 1836 PAC built attacking his opponent.
Gordon’s issues seem to be with any authority that isn’t his own. Which seems to be sometimes productive but often times destructive.
As stated above the runoff has turned into a contest about the candidates personalities and not the issues, which is almost always the case in a runoff. They don’t particularly care for helping working families in the district, they’re likely “trickle-on-down economics” guys. Would usually take the side of insurance corporations, and business in general, over the consumer. Would likely rather keep 6 million Texans from getting health insurance.
It’s not clear which one of these candidates will win, because the right wing voters will see little difference between the two, and it will be hard for them to appeal to those who ordinary voters who will show up in November. Neither one of them is better for the District 52 than incumbent Diana Maldonado.