I have spent a good deal of emotional capital via this blog speaking on behalf of state Sen. Kel Seliger, the Amarillo Republican who’s fighting for re-election to the Texas Senate.
My view is a simple one: Seliger is head and shoulders above the two men challenging him in the GOP primary: Victor Leal of Amarillo and Mike Canon of Midland.
He has done a good job representing West Texas. He has acquainted himself with the unique issues in the Permian Basin as well as the Panhandle, from where Seliger hails.
I’ve laid down that marker yet again, but I do have a caveat.
Sen. Seliger isn’t perfect. He does have a vote in the recent legislative session that I want to revisit briefly. Seliger voted in favor of the goofy Bathroom Bill that became one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s major legislative priorities. Senate Bill 3 then went down the hall to the Texas House of Representatives, where GOP Speaker Joe Straus made damn sure it wouldn’t see the light of day.
You remember the Bathroom Bill, yes? It would have required people to use the public restroom that coincided with the gender assigned to them on their birth certificate. It meant that transgender individuals couldn’t use restrooms in accordance with their current gender. It was discriminatory on its face.
Straus saw that and also noted that business groups — not to mention law enforcement officials — all opposed SB 3.
Seliger’s vote in favor of the bill was not decisive. He joined all other Senate Republicans in backing the bill. I only wish he would have stood up to Patrick on this one, just as he has done on other legislative matters during the two Senate sessions the men have served together.
It well might be that Seliger knew SB 3 was doomed in the House, which enabled him to favor it in the Senate.
OK. So there’s this vote that’s troubling. However, it is far from a dealbreaker, given the (non)quality of the opposition that is challenging Sen. Seliger in the GOP primary.
I have declared already that I consider Seliger to be a friend. I have long respected his commitment to the Panhandle and to West Texas.
But he is as imperfect as the rest of us.
Just for kicks, I thought I’d share this post from 2014: