HD-133: Jim Murphy Launches Dirty Attacks to Get “His Seat Back”

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Ed. note: To learn more about the race read the Texas Political Report – HD 133: Rep. Kristi Thibaut (D) vs. Jim Murphy (R).

Jim Murphy is bitter that the voters in HD-133 took away “his seat.” His strategy to take back “his seat” is to launch a series of dirty attacks that have been thoroughly discredited by partisan Republican and former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector — and staunch Jim Murphy supporter — Paul Bettencourt.

State Representative Kristi Thibaut has worked her entire life to fight for Texas families. She's fought to lower utility rates, insurance rates, and college tuition. She's championed job creation and worked hard to protect homeowners from foreclosure. She is a State Representative who is trying to improve the lives of Texas families. Jim Murphy, on the other hand, is a partisan hack who resorts to dirty attacks to hide the fact that he supports public policies that harm Texas families, Texas workers, and Texas children.

Murpyh's attacks are utterly predictable — slinging mud about the fact that Rep. Thibaut  worked as a (hold your breath) lobbyist for ACORN. I know, I know — the horror. Except for the fact that Paul Bettencourt has said ACORN is a legitimate operation.

Two Houston Chronicle stories from 2008 make it clear as day. First, “ACORN sign-ups in Harris seem legitimate”:

Although nearly 40 percent of the 35,000 voter registration applications submitted in Harris County by a community-organizing group accused of fraud in other states were rejected, there is no evidence of intentional manipulation of the voter rolls here, according to the county's voter registrar.

One more time, from Bettencourt in a story titled, “Voter fraud not rampant at ACORN”:

Voter fraud is a perennial political boogeyman of the Republicans, similar to the way fears of rigged elections, registrars purging voters and ballot-stealing voter machines are employed by Democrats. Like a good rumor, they persist because they're based on a kernel of truth.

But large-scale conspiracy this does not appear to be. These paid canvassers, many low income folks themselves, are more likely motivated to pad their stacks to collect a paycheck than to join in a sinister plot to swing an election.

But even if investigations in other states do turn up evidence of a coordinated effort to commit fraud, Harris County apparently has nothing to fear.

“There's no Dallas Cowboys football team. President Roosevelt has not been re-registered. We've done a cursory check,” says Paul Bettencourt, Harris County voter registrar.

In fact, Bettencourt, a Republican, says he has a healthy relationship with ACORN. When there's a problem, he meets with the group's officials to work it out. And there have been problems this election cycle.

So the extremely partisan-Republican former Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector who supports Jim Murphy says there is no problem. A factual evaluation of the voter registration rolls show there is no problem. What, then, is Jim Murphy actually talking about? Why is he in the gutter slinging mud like just another typical politician?

While Jim Murphy tries to take back “his seat” that the voters stole from him, Rep. Thibaut will continue to proudly do the work her campaign has always done: fight for the real issues that matter to Texas families.

About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

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