Valoree Swanson, a long time Harris County Republican Party activist, is the clear choice to replace Rep. Debbie Riddle in Texas House District 150. She is running against Democrat Michael Shawn Kelly, who is attempting to distance his campaign from the Democratic Party and hoodwink voters into thinking he is a conservative. Or something like that.
Swanson not voting for Straus if he is challenged
First-timer hoping to wrest House seat from decades of GOP control
The other is Swanson’s criticism of state House Speaker Joe Straus, an establishment-style Republican – a stance Riddle said will prevent Swanson from getting the leader’s help on critical issues for the district.
“I want someone who will fight fiercely for our district, not just be a partisan,” Riddle said.
Swanson said Riddle was wrong in her criticism, saying she would work to maintain authority over subsidized housing and would vote for Straus.
When I read that Swanson was going to vote for Straus, I shook my head and said, just another flip flop politician. After all, that was a centerpiece of her campaign, is featured on her website and she received tens of thousands of dollars from the anti-Straus forces. But after thinking about it for 30 seconds, I knew it had to be a mistake. I contacted Mrs. Swanson’s campaign and received an emphatic no, she didn’t say that. Other supporters of hers were not as nice and attributed it to “bad reporting”. Still others said that they had heard Mrs. Swanson in Austin telling lobbyists that she had promised her voters that she would vote against Speaker Straus and that she would keep that promise.
I tried contacting Mr. Tresaugue several times via phone and email over the course of the last three days. He did return one email, saying that he needed to review his notes. Early this morning, I sent another email to him, the Chron’s reader rep, the Chron’s city desk editor and the Chron’s editor/Executive VP, Nancy Barnes asking for clarification. I finally received the following response:
When I asked Mrs. Swanson about Speaker Straus, she indicated that she would vote for him because “there’s not going to be a race this time.”
What’s more, her campaign hasn’t asked me for a clarification or correction.
So, she didn’t ‘say’ it, she ‘indicated’ it. And only in the context of “there’s not going to be a race this time”. Well, duh! If no one runs against Speaker Straus, she will vote for him. As will the other 148 state reps. Good grief. I realize that Mr. Tresaugue is not a political reporter and doesn’t know much about the district or the anti-Straus dynamic, but his editors should have known this is a big deal. I hope that the Swanson campaign does ask for a correction because Mr. Kelly’s supporters are using this on social media to attack Mrs. Swanson. What a shame.
A solid conservative
Swanson is a solid conservative Republican activist and has been for many, many years. She is conservative on both sides of the coin, which in Texas means fiscal and social conservatism. A few of the issues that she has been outspoken on:
- Eliminate the business margins tax
- Lower property taxes, lower property tax caps, reform appraisals
- No government benefits for illegal aliens
- Reduce regulation on businesses
- Stop abortion on demand, funding for Planned Parenthood, partial birth abortions
I could go on but that is a good start.
I have to admit that when I read Mr. Tresaugue’s article, I was intrigued by a guy that quotes Jack Kemp. I am in the Kemp wing of the Republican Party – free markets and urban solutions instead of rhetoric. And perhaps Michael Shawn Kelly really believes in Kemp’s philosophy. Maybe after he has been on the scene for a few years and used his time, talent and money to promote those ideas, I could support him. But not in this race against a solid conservative Republican.
Bitter Republicans supporting Kelly on social media
It was a bitter Republican primary. Most are, especially when you are taking on an entrenched incumbent. Unfortunately, Rep. Riddle and her supporters remain bitter and have vowed to support the Democrat. Of course, 99.9% of that is just talk on social media. They aren’t doing anything of value to actually support the guy.
Heck, if they don’t want to give the guy money or time, the least Riddle could do is help him with his campaign finance reports. They are a hot mess. In July, he reported having $106,600 cash on hand and $100,000 in loans in one place and $200,000 in loans in another. In October, he reported spending $24,951.91, zero cash on hand and $100,000 in loans. As well as a $200 donation from “Anonymous”. I didn’t realize the law had changed and we could now make anonymous contributions to political candidates. Apparently the curators of the state ethics website haven’t gotten that memo either:
Texas law does not allow anonymous contributions. Also, reports must disclose the actual source of a contribution, not an intermediary. Elec. Code § 253.001.
The best part for Harris County Republicans and Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman is this contribution listed on Mr. Kelly’s finance report:
09/21/2016 Hickman, Ron (Mr.) $1,000.00 donation
That’s right, the Democratic nominee for HD150 gave $1,000 to Republican Sheriff Ron Hickman, who is in a tight race with Ed Gonzalez and is the only Harris County Republican leading his opponent in the polls. I appreciate that donation! And I’m certain that Sheriff Hickman does too!
I’d vote for Swanson
Like I said, Michael Shawn Kelly might be a good guy and might be someone that I’d vote for some day. But not today. If I lived in HD150, I’d cast my vote for Valoree Swanson. As for you Republicans that are still bitter about the primary, get over yourselves and do the right thing for your district.
UPDATE – Houston Chronicle issues ‘Clarification’
The Swanson campaign did ask the Houston Chronicle to correct their representation that Valoree Swanson said that she would vote for Speaker Straus when in fact she did not say that. Here is how the article now reads:
Swanson said Riddle was wrong in her criticism, saying she would work to maintain authority over subsidized housing and indicated she would support Straus if he was not opposed for Speaker.
And they placed an Editor’s note at the bottom of the article:
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said Swanson said she would vote for Rep. Joe Straus as speaker of the House, but did not include her caveat that she did not expect him to face a challenge.
That reads better than the print version of the clarification:
As we know, Swanson never “said” that she would vote for Speaker Straus, the reporter thinks that she “indicated” that she would. But at least they did let readers know they got it wrong.