Hoping for a Seliger blowout

Of all the local races that have piqued my interest, one stands out.

The Texas Senate District 31 contest between incumbent Kel Seliger of Amarillo and former Midland Mayor Mike Canon had the earmarks of a true test of ideas.

It’s turned into an onslaught of half-truths and talking points from one of them, Canon.

Seliger is the Amarillo Republican who’s represented the sprawling Senate district since 2004. He turned into a quick study, learning rapidly the art of legislating, the language of the Senate — and he has shown an affinity for working with Democrats as well as Republicans, a trait that has gone missing among many members of both legislative houses in recent years.

Canon, meanwhile, has conducted a campaign that refers to Seliger as some kind of closet liberal, implying that he is misrepresenting the people of District 31.

I had the pleasure of taking part in a candidate forum sponsored by Panhandle PBS. I asked the men whether they supported term limits for legislators and to explain why or why not.

Canon offered the true-blue talking point that we need fresh ideas and a brisk turnover in the Senate. He owed to serve just two terms before bowing out.

Seliger, meanwhile, offered the nuanced answer I’ve come to expect from him. He said elections have a way of determining whether a legislator is doing his or her job properly and he wouldn’t commit to setting a term limit for himself.

Seliger gave the more honest and courageous answer given the tenor of much of the debate these days.

I just returned from the Dallas Metroplex, where I saw lawn signs scattered all over creation touting the virtues of “conservative Republican” candidates. What in the world differentiates Texas Republicans these days?

Canon is running as a “conservative Republican” candidate for the state Senate. Seliger is running as an accomplished incumbent who knows how the political system works.

My hope Tuesday is that Seliger scores a blowout win.

He’s done the job his constituents have sent him to do.