Gilbert Garcia writes a column for the San Antonio Express New (SAEN), the daily news monopoly in San Antonio. Garcia often covers politics. He dedicated his article on January 25th to Robert Stovall’s candidacy for the seat of U.S. Representative Lamar Smith, long-time congressman representing Bexar County’s District 21. Now, talk about a swamp! There are 22 candidates scrambling to win this choice seat in Washington – eighteen Republicans and four Democrats.
Garcia quotes from Stovall’s video ad:
“In the 30-second video, Stovall stands knee-deep in the middle of a swamp, wearing fishing waders and a white ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. Within two seconds, he reverently invokes Trump’s name: ‘I’m Robert Stovall and like President Trump, I realize the swamp is the problem. I’m running for Congress to help President Trump get rid of the establishment politicians who have failed to support his agenda.'”
It would be an understatement to suggest that Garcia, master legerdemainist, is pulling a fast one on U.S. Congressional District 21 voters. This is a bald faced charade. At the very least, Stovall’s video is amusing.
Legerdemain defined: Sleight of hand, trickery, deception, artful trick
Garcia understands very well that District 21 will elect a Republican. It’s been a solid Republican district for a long time. He is propping up Robert Stovall, picking him out of the crowded field as his choice, the Express News’ choice. The title of Garcia’s article is telling: “Candidate out to make Dist. 21 great again.” While this may appear to be a slight, don’t be fooled. This is classic Gilbert Garcia. He favors chaos and division in the Republican Party if and when Democrats can’t win.
Well, Robert Stovall’s Ads may say one thing but voters should beware. Stovall until recently was the chairman of the Republican Party of Bexar County. He announced in July last year that he was running for re-election as party chairman. After the local party meeting in October (detailed in previous report), Stovall’s status with the party leaders was akin to dictator Benito Mussolini’s at the end of WWII. Mussolini was shot and strung up by Italian partisans.
Local party leaders were ready to censure Stovall for his tyrannical handling of the Straus resolution. It appeared Stovall was ready to fall on his sword for Straus who has been his mentor and benefactor. At the October meeting, Stovall bullied and bulldogged his way as chairman, violating common rules governing meetings with one goal in mind – to block at all cost a censure vote despite the will of the majority. His success was short-lived. While Stovall continued to give the false notion to the Express News that his mentor’s censure was the work of a few malcontents, a supermajority of the county’s Republican leaders passed the resolution to censure Straus in December, later affirmed by two thirds of the Texas Republican party leaders last month. (Read recent article)
Representative Lamar Smith’s unexpected retirement announcement afforded Stovall the opportunity to bail out of an untenable situation as the unpopular chairman of the Bexar County party. This was a most desirable exit plan for Stovall who would certainly have continued to face significant opposition as county chairman.
In spite of his ad campaign claims, Stovall could not even drain the local swamp as chairman of the local Republican Party. While he was warned that key staff members were hostile to conservative members of the local party and were undermining Republican core principles, he ignored complaints. One staffer was particularly vocal in her hostility towards Christians, Tea Party members, pro-life supporters and those who opposed same sex marriage and transgender “rights”. To these staff members, the swamp that needed draining in the local party would include grassroots Republicans, Christians, Tea Partyers who support the agenda of the Governor and Lt. Governor, the principles and platform of the Republican Party, and the reliable conservatives in the Texas House of Representatives. Precinct chair applicants were encouraged to run like useful idiots against conservative members.
Management committee members were frustrated that Stovall dictated rather than consult with them making the committee a sham, nothing but window dressing. Under his leadership, the ranks of precinct chair members of the executive committee dwindled down to barely 200 with most of the 723 precincts vacant.
If there was ever a clear case of a small businessman (family run wholesale florist business) who grew up with Republican values but once in office was seduced and fell in with the establishment glitterati, the movers and shakers in the political swamp, Robert Stovall is it. Posing as a strong conservative leader during his campaign does not square with his short record and thin resume as a local political figure. His disastrous role as local party leader is crucial evidence for voters to understand that he will not drain the infested swamp in Washington. There are other conservative candidates worthy of your support whom we will discuss in next week’s edition.
The Swamp in State Representative District 122
Another Republican poseur in the local political constellation is incumbent Lyle Larson representing Bexar County’s State District 122. Larson’s campaign card brags that he is a “conservative champion” who won “conservative victories” in 2017. Another master legerdemainist (there’s that two dollar word again!), Larson’s sneaky voting record needs some hardnosed scrutiny.
In the 85th session, Larson voted along with all the Democrats to protect the sanctuary city policies of Dallas and Houston. He failed to sabotage SB4 (Senate Bill 4, Amendment 9, Shaefer) with his Democrat friends after the Governor signed the bill.
State Representative Matt Schaefer led the fight with SB 8 (Amendment 22) to end late term abortions for babies with disabilities. Larson was one of 21 Republicans who voted with all the Democrats to kill the bill.
The top priority of the Governor (SB 1 revision 136) was to reform property taxes to benefit property owners, rolling back to a 4% cap, tax increases local municipalities could impose on owners beyond which voters would have to approve of higher increases. Straus refused to negotiate with Lt. Gov. He demanded a higher cap of 6% while Dan Patrick pushed to reduce the cap. In effect the Governor and Lt. Governor were looking out for us, the taxpayers, while Straus, Larson, and the Democrats were protecting the interests of big spending city government leaders overseeing bloated bureaucracies. Larson voted with the Democrats to gut property tax reform legislation which eventually led to its demise. He voted against capping property tax increases at 4%, ever loyal to his leader, Speaker Joe Straus.
On SB 16 (Zedler Amendment 20) regarding the mandated collection of union dues by government agencies, another priority of the Governor, Larson voted to kill legislation that would end the collection of union dues imposed on government agencies. Union dues are often used to support the Democratic Party.
On House Bill HB 208, Larson again teamed up with the Democrats to vote to kill a stricter cap on state spending. Again following Speaker Straus’ orders, Larson and a minority of Republicans voted with all the Democrats to oppose the strengthening of state spending caps.
Are these actions of State Representative Lyle Larson evidence of a certifiable, reliable conservative member of the State House of Representatives? There is an alternative. Find out more about Republican Candidate Chris Fails. Governor Greg Abbott has endorsed Chris Fails to replace Lyle Larson for State Representative District 122.
Who Not to Vote for in State Representative District 121
Since we’re on the topic of draining the political swamps in Texas, the favored candidate of the establishment and the Straus moderates (“business and profit first, damn the social principles of the party”), one of the six candidates who is well connected, well funded and stands a good chance of succeeding Joe Straus in his district surrounding the party elites in Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills is Steve Allison, lawyer and former President of the Alamo Heights School Board.
Oh … do you think Mr. Allison will support the legislative priorities of the Governor and Lt. Governor on education reform and parental choice and the censure of Republican officials who willfully and repeatedly oppose party principles? Here are excerpts of his interview with the Express News:
“Most of the candidates meeting with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board lauded Straus’ record as speaker, pointing to his ability to work across party lines … We’ve got too much polarization, and Joe did a great job of trying to bridge that huge gap and bring people together,” Allison said.
“Allison supported the idea of keeping funding in local schools and said vouchers ‘undermine the public education system.’” (In actually the education reform movement in Texas offering more choice to parents cannot be simplistically labeled as a “voucher” program. Read further)
It appears an Allison victory would result not in draining the swamp but rather would be refilling it.
Steve Allison, Lyle Larson, and Robert Stovall are three Republican candidates running in important state and federal races who should not be considered principled Republicans who will have the political courage and strength of character to represent conservative Republican principles and values consistently and transparently. Certainly they will not be leading any effort to drain any swamp in whatever jurisdiction.