With runoff early voting kicking off on Monday, major newspaper editorials are weighing in on the contentious races throughout the state.
Republican Senate Runoff:
Dallas Morning News: David Dewhurst
Houston Chronicle: David Dewhurst
San Antonio Express-News: David Dewhurst
Austin American-Statesman: Ted Cruz
The Austin American-Statesman stood alone in their endorsement of Tea Party star Ted Cruz. The Statesman's endorsement had little to do with substantive differences (as there are none), but rather their distaste for how Dewhurst has run his campaign. The board was bothered by Dewhurst ducking events and instead focusing on an expensive ad campaign. In their endorsement of Cruz, the editorial board wrote "We've supported Dewhurst in the past, but cannot recommend a candidate who plays hide-and-seek with voters." The Statesman endorsed the obstructionist and inexperienced Cruz simply because Dewhurst wisely chose to hide the fact that he is about as interesting as a jar of sand. Dewhurst is a much more appealing Republican candidate wearing a cowboy hat and admonishing undocumented immigrants in a 30 second TV ad than giving a substantive policy speech, but that is hardly a rationale for endorsing Cruz. The Statesman's editorial board should be embarrassed, as their endorsement appears to have nothing to do with how either candidate would govern.
The Dallas Morning News and San Antonio Express-News focused on Dewhurst's more substantive record in explaining their endorsements. The Dallas Morning News described Dewhurst's experience as Lieutenant Governor as "invaluable" and went on to describe him as a "fair minded problem solver." The San Antonio Express-News wrote, "Both GOP Senate candidates are solidly conservative, but Dewhurst has a track record of effectively working in the legislative process to translate goals into accomplishments." The campaigns truly have no divide on the issues. Choosing which of these empty suits to send to Washington is no simple task, but comparing records should make the choice pretty easy. Dewhurst served in the Air Force, ran a business, has served as land commissioner, and as Lieutenant governor for a decade, while Cruz has been an attorney shouting at government from the sidelines.
The Houston Chronicle joined in an endorsement of Dewhurst but it seemed to reflect fear of Cruz more than admiration of Dewhurst. The Chronicle's editorial board wrote "Texas doesn't need an obstructionist in the Senate. It needs a constructive voice." The endorsements of Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Sean Hannity should inspire a great deal of fear. Cruz is exactly what Texas and the nation do not need, another politician who views compromise as a dirty word and is only content in stalemate or victory. Cruz represents the inexperienced and clueless Tea Partiers that thought the debt ceiling was a "blank check." The Chronicle editorial writers are right to be afraid of Cruz. Hopefully Texas wakes up and joins them.
Democratic Senate Runoff:
Dallas Morning News: Paul Sadler
Houston Chronicle: Paul Sadler
San Antonio Express-News: Paul Sadler
Austin American-Statesman: Paul Sadler
The Newspapers found consensus in the Democratic race for Senate and all touted Sadler's impressive legislative record. The Austin American-Statesman pointed to Sadler's work on legislation that established public school employee health insurance for the first time in the history of the state. The Houston Chronicle pointed to his ability to cross party lines, writing, "He is smart, experienced and independent, the latter an important attribute if lawmakers are going to escape Washington's poisonous partisanship." The San Antonio Express News wrote, "Texas Democrats are lucky that a candidate as qualified as Sadler is willing to seek this high-profile office in an era dominated by Republicans." Texas Democrats have hardly felt lucky in this Senate race, but Grady Yarbrough reminds us why the San Antonio Express-News makes a valid point. Yarbrough has previously run as a Republican and used the Berlin Wall as an example of how we should deal with immigration. Sadler may not be electric, but he is undoubtedly qualified and would make an effective legislator that Texas could be proud.
See some of the newspapers' local endorsements below the jump!
Dallas Morning News: Marc Veasey
The Dallas Morning News once again endorsed State Rep. Marc Veasey over Domingo Garcia. "Marc Veasey, who has spent the last seven years in Austin as a state representative, is a consensus builder who has earned the respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle", wrote the board. Veasey is clearly the better candidate and the better Democrat in this race. His recent launching of "Vamos con Veasey" serves as a reminder that you don't have to be Latino to grasp the issues that most affect the Latino community. Although the Morning News failed to mention Domingo Garcia in their endorsement, the use of the phrase "consensus builder" could further explain their motivation in endorsing against the former State Rep. Garcia was once described by Paul Burka as "a one man leper colony." Veasey is an effective legislature who fights for progressive ideals, while Garcia is divisive and self-serving legislature who works against Democrats for school vouchers.
Houston Chronicle: Stephen Takach
The Chronicle endorsed Takach over opponent Steve Stockman in the Republican race for Congress in the southeast CD-36. In the endorsement, the board wrote, "Takach is a conservative with a strong financial background and a commitment to use that experience to help unravel the debt/deficit mess that's paralyzing the federal government." Takach has never run for elected office before, serving as a financial advisor previously. Takach's fundraising advantage gives him an edge over his opponent, former one term Congressman Steve Stockman. Stockman lives outside the district, but only 350 votes separated them the first time around. Although Stockman is not mentioned in the Chronicle's endorsement, he had to have played a huge role in their endorsement. Stockman has ran a bizarre campaign, hardly appearing in public and posting signs around the district that read, "Reelect Steve Stockman", even though he hasn't held elected office in more than a decade. An endorsement of Takach would have to reflect considerable unease with the more familiar Stockman.
Austin American-Statesman: Jeff Wentworth
In Jeff Wentworth's competitive Republican primary with physician Donna Campbell, the Austin American Statesman has deemed Wentworth the "obvious choice." The Statesman cites Wentworth's "independent streak" that they believe shows he is not a "knee-jerk politician." That independent streak on issues like abortion rights and tort reform has earned him a great deal of opposition in Republican circles. Tea Party darling Donna Campbell hopes that opposition will culminate in votes come July 31st, but Wentworth has been here before. In Texas, it is rare to see a Republican break ranks. Despite his many, many shortcomings, Wentworth has shown courage in some of his stances and his reelection would keep another Tea Party obstructionist from elected office.
San Antonio Express-News: Tina Torres
The Express-news cited Torres' "civic activities and background in the law" as warranting their endorsement over former city councilman Phillip Cortez. Through that work, they argue, "Torres has developed a keen understanding of San Antonio and particularly the needs of (the) average resident." The editorial board also expresses unease in her opponent's record, a record they say shows a "disturbing lack of judgment that voters should consider." Torres makes up for her lack of political experience with a record advocating for families and children, serving on the board of non-profit groups like "Healthy Families." Torres clearly has her heart in the right place and the Express-News was right to place their trust in her.