Clear Lake Tea Party Comptroller Forum

Glenn Hegar, Harvey Hilderbran, Robert Gonzales, Debra Medina, Raul Torres
Glenn Hegar, Harvey Hilderbran, Robert Gonzales, Debra Medina, Raul Torres

It’s been a while since I went to a meeting sponsored by the Clear Lake Tea Party. It is a sort of self-imposed exile – one of the board members doesn’t like what I do and attacks me every time I write about their meetings. I have no doubt that this one will be no different.

Now that I got that out of the way, the Clear Lake Tea Party held a forum for the candidates seeking to replace current Texas Comptroller Susan Combs. All four candidates attended and they brought in a moderator from out of town to ask the questions. The format was such that it led to one candidate being on the “hot seat” for about 12 minutes at a time, not counting the moderator’s question time. The moderator would ask a question, the candidate was allowed a three minute response, then each of the other candidates could ask a one minute followup that was supposed to be related to the original question, then the candidate would have two minutes to respond. It looks like this

  • Moderator: Question
  • Candidate 1: Three minute answer
  • Candidate 2: One minute followup
  • Candidate 1: Two minute answer
  • Candidate 3: One minute followup
  • Candidate 1: Two minute answer
  • Candidate 4: One minute followup
  • Candidate 1: Two minute answer

Obviously, with four candidates, it was a long forum. With each candidate getting two questions from the moderator, it lasted a little over two hours.

But it worked. Not as i thought it would but it worked nonetheless because I completely switched my candidates around and now have to choose between two of them.

First off, I went into this thing supporting Raul Torres, CPA. If you’ve read BJP any length of time, you know that I like his work and have supported him in his two previous elections. He is the only CPA in the race and has great ideas on saving taxpayer money for the state of Texas. But the forum last night showed that he just isn’t ready for a job of this magnitude.

The most glaring example of this was his response to a question about Prop 6 – remember the water amendment that we all voted on last fall? Well, he answered pretty harsh, saying this was something that needed to be done years ago but that this wasn’t the right solution. Fine, everyone has an opinion, right? But then Sen. Glenn Hegar asked him what bills he had filed during his term in the legislature to fix the problem. Oops. Raul said that he didn’t file any because water wasn’t a high profile issue that session and that he was focused on other things. Okay, fine again, I guess, but why say it was something that had been neglected for years when you did nothing about it? But then the killer question came from Debra Medina – uh, Raul, I recall that you passed a water amendment authorizing $6 billion in spending during that session – what do you mean it wasn’t high profile? Is $6 billion not high profile for you? Double oops. Or maybe ooopsie. Raul did in fact vote for it – but last night he couldn’t remember it. Sigh. Adios Raul.

But I had a second choice, Debra! She’s been my favorite grassroots candidate since her run for Governor in 2010. So, I figured, I have a backup plan, no big deal, Raul wasn’t catching on anyway. But then a strange thing happened. The moderator obviously favored her and gave her a layup question right out of the gate:

Do you believe we have good leadership in the Texas House and Senate? Why and why not? Please profile the character of a good legislative leader for the House and Senate.

Sounds innocuous enough until you think about where I was and who was sponsoring the forum. CLTP has been way over the top in their opposition to House Speaker Joe Straus. So much so that it has hurt their organization almost to the point of irrelevancy, which I could demonstrate a hundred ways. In my notes, I wrote “layup question”. But I held out hope that Debra wouldn’t fall for it and would give an honest assessment of the House and Senate.

Oh well, so much for hope. Debra never addressed the Senate, but she sure enough went for Joe Straus’ throat – which pleased the crowd but left her looking petty and just plain wrong in the end. What is it about Joe Straus that brings out the worst in people? Anyway, I’ll let you listen to a bit of the answer:


Listen very carefully because her answer is flat out wrong. First off, if Straus has done anything at all, it is to make sure that the will of the House is done, whether it was through cutting the budget in 2011 and partially restoring it in 2013, or having the no doubt/no argument whatsoever the two most pro-life sessions in the history of Texas government. But I still see clowns claiming he is “pro-abortion”. Debra seems to think that the “will of the House” means something she agrees with. That isn’t how it works. But like I said, her actual answer on specific legislation is flat out wrong. Remember, she said that NO bills about guns moved out of the House. Thankfully, Rep. Hilderbran was on hand with a question:


Yep, as Hilderbran said, the Texas House had a “gun day” and twelve pro-second amendment bills passed out of the House. Here, read about it for yourself. Instead of admitting her error, she weakly said that it doesn’t count if they don’t become law – which is also wrong because some of them did make it through the Texas Senate and were signed by the Governor. But who cares, this is attack Joe Straus time, right?

Worse yet, she doesn’t think that the Texas Legislature represents the will of the people better than the US Congress.

Wow. What alternate reality has Debra been living in the past decade or four? Look, it’s fine to go on Raging Elephants with the Apostle that refuses to file campaign finance reports and rage on about Joe Straus but at some point you have to come back to reality and live in the real world. The Texas Legislature is infinitely closer to the will of Texans than the US House is. I wish Debra the best and by that I mean I hope she broadens the group of people that she takes advice from.

So that leaves me with Glenn Hegar and Harvey Hilderbran. No layup questions for those guys – in fact, the questions from the moderator for them could have come from their opponent’s camps. But each man dealt with the hard questions and didn’t duck or run away from them. Clearly they are the class of this race and I have to decide between them, even if my heart might have been set on an outsider. I don’t know much about either man – to me Hegar is a guy that has focused on social issues more than fiscal and Hilderbran is a mystery. The good news is that I’ve got until March 4th to figure it out!

Thank you to the Clear Lake Tea Party for the forum – I might not have liked sitting there for two hours but I sure enough did learn something about the candidates. Perhaps you may think it is rash to change candidates based upon one forum, especially when I know them. Well, that’s pretty much the point – I know them and fully expected better from them. And Comptroller is a job that requires a certain skill set that only Hegar and Hilderbran demonstrated last night. You can’t just be a rabble rouser for rabble rousing’s sake. CLTP might put the video online – if so, you should watch it. If not, I have audio of the event and you can listen for yourself if you ask nicely.


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  1. says

    Great read, David. I’ve been looking for the most reasonable Comptroller candidate, and had long thought Torres fit the bill. I think your article sufficiently changed my mind. Likewise, I have no idea who’ll I’ll endorse now but an leaning towards Hilderbran.

  2. Don says

    Good read and I will listen to the audio. I can not thank you enough for your devotion to informing the electorate.

  3. Leif says

    I first came across this “Big Jolly” fellow when someone from my neighborhood suggested checking out some posts by a guy on LST who was doing real citizen journalism by trailing Gene Green around to all of his town hall meetings to get him on the record about Obamacare and the “stimulus” bill. I’ve been reading ever since, and posts like this are the reason why.
    Thanks for your continued hard work, David.

  4. says

    I have been a conservative Republican in Glenn Hegar’s Senate District for almost ten years. I have gotten actively involved since I signed up to run for Congressional District 34 that the San Antonio judges created in 2011 but withdrew after being redrawn back into McCaul’s 10th District. Glenn has cosistently helped sponsor quarterly meetings by our SREC in District 18 which has helped my wife and I meet many of the cnadidates and other county chairs and lGOP leaders. Glenn has always been willing to listen and support the local leaders in his district. We need someone with his understanding of the operation of our state government in the State Comptroller’s office.

  5. Jim says

    That question to Debra Medina was not a softball if you understand the history. Some have errantly accused her of endorsing Strauss…that is why she got the question. I’m order to refute that claim, she had to go over the top in her criticism. I will be voting for Debra because she is the only one with bold ideas to shrink government.

  6. Tanya R says

    David, these forums are provided to inform the electorate and debates like this one draws out facts that we normally would not be aware of. I am a ‘actions speak louder than words’ kinda gal so my choice for an honest, accountably, fair, true fiscal conservative is Debra Medina.
    Any voter that reviews the fiscal scores from her opponents and reads about, or has witnessed, Debra’s activism for TX taxpayers can’t help but to come to that conclusion.
    Thank you for all of your hard work but we will agree to disagree on this race.

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