The media are beginning to peel back the mystery surrounding a political action group that calls itself Empower Texans.
What are we seeing now? It ain’t pretty, folks.
Empower Texans is pouring lots of money into campaigns around the state. It has targeted a couple of seats in the Panhandle with a reprehensible smear campaign.
The group’s actions have been noticed by the media, which are reporting on them with the kind of gusto one saw during other hot political disputes. Watergate comes to mind. So does the Lewinsky scandal.
Let’s take a gander at Michael Quinn Sullivan, the guy who detests state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and is backing former Midland Mayor Mike Canon’s bid to unseat Seliger.
Sen. Seliger has not hidden his dislike of Sullivan, who runs the ultra-right-wing organization. Sullivan has returned the favor by pouring lots of money into Canon’s campaign. Texas Monthly’s R.G. Ratcliffe takes particular note of an essay that Amarillo Globe-News columnist Jon Mark Beilue wrote in which he compared Empower Texans to Netflix’s “House of Cards.”
Read Ratcliffe’s essay here. Ratcliffe contends that Empower Texans is subverting democracy by falsifying incumbents’ records, as it has done with Seliger.
Empower Texans also has glommed onto something called the Granny Tax in its effort to unseat state Rep. Four Price, another Amarillo Republican.
Price’s challenger, Fritch City Manager Drew Brassfield, has campaign contributions from wealthy downstate interests that comprise 61 percent of his total campaign intake. Empower Texans has its mitts on that race, too, having endorsed Brassfield over Price.
Empower Texans has fabricated an issue, contending that Texas House members intended to raise taxes on nursing homes, thus penalizing elderly residents of those facilities. Thus, the “Granny Tax” was born.
It didn’t exist.
Scott Braddock of the Houston Chronicle lays out Empower Texans’ deception here.
We are witnessing a despicable display of demagoguery perpetrated by interests who have zero interest in the Texas Panhandle or in West Texas. They are seeking to unseat individuals who don’t grovel at the feet of powerful interests.
Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. Four Price must not fall victim to this kind of defamation.
As Beilue noted in his column: “They (Empower Texans) are using their typical campaign playbook—paint their guy as the conservative choice, and the other guy as basically a Democrat by distorting and taking facts out of context to make them seem soft on abortion and a patsy for big government. Their hope is enough voters are gullible and naïve to believe it all.”
Man, I certainly hope West Texas Republican primary voters are smarter than that.
I tip my hat, moreover, to the Texas political media for revealing this lie to a voting public that needs to see it.