The 2012 Republican primary for U.S. Senate has begun.
There are four main candidates: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, and ESPN sports analyst Craig James. With the ongoing Texas district maps court battle, there has not been a primary date set yet. This week, however, the four candidates plan to debate at the Texas Association of Business's annual conference. It's not unsurprising that the candidates chose that venue for their first debate. They are all corporate robots with no core conviction other than “profits for my donors.”
According to the most recent poll, Dewhurst has the support of 50 percent of Republican primary voters, followed by Leppert at 9 percent, Cruz at 5 percent and James at 3 percent. The race is starting slow, but there is already notable movement.
- This Tuesday, Tom Leppert announced that he put in another $500,000 of his money on top of the $2.6 million he had previously loaned to his campaign. With the $387,000 he brought in during the last quarter, he now has about $3.5 million to spend.
- Dewhurst has brought in $6.1 million, a third of which is his own money.
- Cruz took in $1.1 million in the last quarter, bringing his total to more than $4 million.
- On Thursday, Craig James, who entered the race in the last few weeks, released his tax returns and called for the other candidates to do the same. James' showed an adjusted income of $257,000 in 2010 and $1.1 million in 2009.
- On Friday, David Dewhurst released his returns, which showed that his investments exceeded $225 million in 2010.
- This week, Leppert released his returns, which showed adjusted gross income of $1.5 million in 2008, $1.28 million in 2009 and $443,194 in 2010. In all three years, he paid effective tax rates of more than 21 percent.
- Cruz reported an adjusted gross income of more than $2 million in 2010.
This primary is a primary of the 1% doing battle for who gets to represent the 1% in the Senate.
The spectre of Mitt Romney paying less than 14 percent in income taxes has horrified so many Americans that Republicans are trying their hardest to seem less sleazy than their frontrunning presidential standard-bearer. That's good news – and evidence that the Occupy movement is bringing income inequality into the national debate.
This primary race is playing out like every other Republican contest in America: a rhetorical battle for the mantle of “most conservative.” Each candidate is advocating against essentials like the environment, strong public education, and reproductive rights, while advocating corporatist government policies. These are not unique candidates; they are four examples of what is so wrong with the Republican Party today. They are not here to represent Texans, they are here to represent the industry interests who pay them.
Hopefully in the general election, a majority of Texas voters will vote against any one of these corporate shills.