Dallas Morning News Endorsements

Thanks to Joey Dauben for pointing this item out. It’s sad and unfortunate, really… but I also think for Libertarians (and all third party activists) it is worth reading and really trying to understand. The Dallas Morning News made a round of endorsements in state legislative races, mentioning the many Libertarians challengers but failing to support them in any race.

So, starting with what I think is the worst of them, State House District 100…

No recommendation

Democratic Rep. Terri Hodge is seeking election to her fifth term in the Legislature under the same legal cloud that hovers over Dallas City Hall. She was one of 10 local leaders subpoenaed last year in an FBI inquiry into a politically connected housing developer.

Ms. Hodge, 65, a retired phone company manager, is not accused of criminal wrongdoing, and nobody should confuse a subpoena with anything but a demand for information.

But Ms. Hodge has yet to fully explain her relationship with developer Brian Potashnik and details of the cut-rate rent she enjoyed at one of his tax-subsidized apartment complexes. Having provided political support to Potashnik building projects, Ms. Hodge has not dealt with the perception of a gross ethics violation.

The only other candidate is Libertarian Robert M. Pritchett, 52, a computer consultant who advocates a new gold currency in Texas.

Considering the options, we regretfully take the rare step of recommending neither candidate.

Ouch. The paper can’t bring itself to endorse the corrupt incumbent, but the Libertarian opponent’s main issue is the need for a new gold currency? Why? With all the other things to talk about out there (eminent domain, high taxes, and gun control), why does this candidate focus on the need for a gold currency and thus make himself entirely irrelevent to the race?

Next pair, the no shows…

His 45-year-old Libertarian opponent Dennis Kaptain, a Mesquite electronics technician, did not attend an interview session.

Libertarian opponent David Mason, a 55-year-old Carrollton telecommunications engineer, did not show for an interview.

Now, not all of the candidates came off as entirely terrible. In State Senate District 2 it sounds like the candidate is serious, but the anti-public school position strikes again…

His 61-year-old Libertarian opponent, John Shuey, is among his party’s more articulate candidates, but the retired Heinz salesman lacks a commitment to public education, which we consider key to Texas’ future.

But at least he lost the endorsement on an issue that’s relevant to the campaign.

Now for this next guy, why even run if you’re just going to tell the newspaper you’re not serious about your own campaign?

Libertarian challenger Maurice Dubois, a 61-year old Realtor, admits he’s only a “paper challenger” and is not waging a serious campaign.

The House District 112 race had the best sounding candidate, but unforunately he’s running against a well-established incumbent with a pretty solid resume of government service …

Texas Legislator of the Year award. Twice. That’s what Richardson Republican Rep. Fred Hill has received from the Texas Municipal League for fending off tax-appraisal limits that would shackle cities and counties. Mr. Hill, 66, is a champion of local government and an independent thinker who’s not averse to taking on a governor in his own party.

Mr. Hill’s leadership quotient is reflected by his election as co-chair of the Dallas-area delegation to the 2005 Legislature. On one vital local issue, he authored a measure forming a task force to find ways to fund seamless rail transit across the region.

If Mr. Hill sounds perfect, he’s not. He needs to join the call for a measure mandating on-the-record votes for all nonceremonial measures in the Legislature. His Libertarian opponent, accountant Matthew Moseley, 32, is on board with that. Mr. Moseley’s not cut from the same bolt of cloth as most other Libertarians we’ve met with this year. A populist-sounding candidate focused on taxpayer rights, he could repackage himself and get traction with voters in another race.

But in this contest, considering Mr. Hill’s composite record, the incumbent deserves re-election.

It’s not my intention to blast Libertarian candidates for no reason. It just really gets under my skin when candidates don’t bother to campaign or run campaigns on totally disconnected issues.

This happened in Florida a few years back when a quirk in election laws made it incredibly easy to field a full slate of state house candidates. Unfortunately most of the ones in my area didn’t campaign at all, raise a single dollar, or even respond to voter surveys for newspapers and the like. Seriously, what’s the point?

Anyway, it sounds like Matthew Moseley could be a pretty good candidate for another office like a city council or something if he doesn’t win this one. And as for the paper candidates or ones who just didn’t show up at all, maybe they shouldn’t run for political office again. That’s just my 2 cents on the matter.

12 Responses to “Dallas Morning News Endorsements”

  1. Nigel Watt Says:

    While I completely agree with this post, I do want to point out as a Dallasite that the DMN is controlled by Belo Corp., which also controls many other Texas media outlets. Belo Corp. excluded the LPTX’s gubernatorial candidate from the Belo-sponsored debate because he had failed to get 5% in a telephone poll he was not included in.

  2. Joey Dauben Says:

    Maybe if the LP had down-ballot candidates that actually answered surveys, answered and attended editorial board meetings, and actually “ran” campaigns, the LP slate of statewide candidates would be taken more seriously.

    Is it just me, or does the media seem to kinda group the entire LP “bunch” into the “kook” category? The LP has great examples in Carla Howell, Michael Badnarik, Ed Thompson, Richard Mack, Bob Smither now…and yet it’s overshadowed by guys who are “paper challengers.”

    This almost makes me want to run a countywide campaign or something in 2008. There’s a reason the RLC thrives in Texas: it’s because of examples such as the one the DMN gave.

    And yes, the DMN is owned by Belo, but realistically, if Badnarik were to have opted for a gubernatorial contest instead of Congress, I bet all 5 candidates would be debating this fall.

    Wes Benedict did a great job in stuffing the ballots, but the LP needs a candidate screening process. Ballot access is too expensive to be wasting it on guys who are just “paper pushers [challengers].”

  3. Robert M. Pritchett Says:

    I was shocked to read this - I and several other Libertarian candidates met with the Dallas Morning News at their request to discuss our campaigns. The impression I get from your quote of them, describing my position as only supporting a “new gold currency”, is that they ignored most everything I talked about and chose to emphasize (and misquote) the one issue that seemed the most “fringe”. It looks very much like the DMN had already decided to disrespect and ignore the Libertarian candidates (just as they conspired with KERA to exclude Libertarian candidate James Werner from the gubernatorial debate) and simply employed their editing skills to serve this agenda.

    So where in your ariticle here you seem to have the impression that the Libertarian candidates badly failed to make ourselves and our issues relevant, you’re actually basing this on the distorted results obtained by the DMN’s very selective filtering process. Based on your banner above which says that you strive to provide fair and accurate coverage of third party politics in America, if you had met with us personally as the DMN did, you would’ve gotten a completely different impression.

    Robert M. Pritchett
    Libertarian candidate for State Rep. district 100

  4. Nigel Watt Says:

    This was the type of thing I was trying to imply might have happened.

  5. George Whitfield Says:

    Thanks Robert Pritchett for setting the record straight. I think that Austin may want to comment on the matter further.

  6. mark san souci Says:

    To stick up for Austin for a moment, there is still a lesson learned here. Although Mr. Pritchett seems to have acquitted himself well, to have a self described ‘paper candidate’ and others who are no shows for interviews for free media are all too typical of us Libertarians. We can’t be taken seriously until we get serious, and Austin’s point relative to this post is a good one.

  7. Nigel Watt Says:

    Oh, certainly Austin is right in the general sense. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that.

  8. Tom Bryant Says:

    In 2002, I ran for State Representative as a “paper candidate.” This was my first experience in the LP and being active in politics. I was excited that my name was on the ballot.

    My city did a segment on the Reps/Dems for every race in the city of well over 100,000. An independent candidate got up in arms and pestered the city to interview all candidates. The city complied and called up all the candidates. Out of roughly 15 third party candidates in various races, only myself and the independent accepted the interview.

    In 2006, another city invited all candidates to do a 2.5 minute interview as part of a panel. Of the third party candidates: 1 Libertarian turned it down, 1 Green never replied, 1 Constitution Party sent in a letter about why he hates insurance companies, and one other Libertarian, myself, attended.

    Two points here…

    1. I don’t blame the media at all for not covering third parties here. We don’t show up. I guess we prefer to not show up so that we can blame “the media” for our failures.

    2. As a paper candidate, you still have to take the race seriously. Your attitude reflects on the party. When 20 Libertarians blow off interviews, and 1 Libertarian is taking it seriously, he looks like the oddball. The impression is that the LP is just a joke.

  9. Gene Berkman Says:

    Here in California, the Libertarian Party regularly tries to fill the ballot with candidates, many of whom do not campaign at all. This tends to make the media ignore Libertarian candidates even when they do, except when a news reporter is sympathetic.

    I think we need to focus on having candidates who do run campaigns, even if it means we don’t fill the ballot. And perhaps some of the better candidates who run for state-wide office would do better to run in local races instead, where they can more easily engage in retail politics on a small budget.

    That said, several years ago, the Dallas Morning News bought the local paper here in Riverside, California, and it has been much less sympathetic to Libertarian candidates or issues since then.

  10. Timothy West Says:

    I talked to Bill Redpath about a year ago and told him I thought in no way should the LP run ANY candidates unless they were serious and at least somewhat qualified for the office they were seeking. He didnt agree with me then, I dont know what position he now holds on the issue now that he is Chair.

    Everytime the LP runs a less than serious candidate, 2 things happen: we commit a fraud on the voters, who are expecting that the people on the ballot are committed and qualified, and we usually get not only less than serious candidates, but just plain bad and embarrassing candidates running as a result.

    Frankly, I was a bad candidate in 2000. I ran just like a typical libertarian: little community involvement ( I had just moved to town ), no campaign apparatus in place, spending my own money, talked about the wrong things ( like federal issues while running for a state level office) , etc. The difference is that I was no paper candidate. I had 10,000 3 folds printed and gave away every one by hand. I also took out a half page ad in the local paper.

    I got savaged by the LP platform in public in front of 500 people, which did not help, but I ran to help the LP and “educate people” about the LP philosophy. Never occurred to me at the time that voters dont give a shit about the libertarian philosophy. :)

    for all that the offical result was 2.6% in a 3 way for 600+ bucks invested. I’m glad I ran after all that.

    It’s also worth noting that at NO time did I get any help with anything despite sending out 2 fundraising/help letters to the 80 or so registered Libertarians in the county.

  11. Eric Dondero Says:

    You guys and gals are not getting it. The LP, even paper candidates, serve a great purpose. It’s not that they are going to win. But rather they help to soften up the public to libertarian candidates running under the Republican banner.

    The Republican Liberty Caucus has been the great recipient of the educational efforts of the Libertarian Party in the past few years. We’ve seen this really materialize in a few bigger states like Texas, and most especially Florida. In FL for instance, the LP barely exists any more, having split into 3 () different factions. But the real libertarian activity is within the FL RLC.

    So, the LP is failing electorally is not really a failure. The RLC is just benefiting and carrying the libertarian football across the finish line.

  12. toscana Says:

    E grande io ha trovato il vostro luogo! Le info importanti ottenute! ))

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