Tea Party House Freshman Jonathan Stickland Has a Challenger

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Rep. Jonathan Stickland

A Texas Rep. Jonathan Stickland of Bedford runs for his first re-election campaign, an interesting divide is forming around whether his “no-on-everything” record is one conservatives can really get behind. An analysis of the House by Rice's Mark Jones found Stickland, who worked in pest extermination before getting elected, has the most conservative voting record — in large part due to the fact that he routinely voted to make already-conservative bills even more conservative.

The contrast in the race is entertainingly stark. Andy Cargile, a former high school principal and current local school board trustee, is taking every turn to point out that Stickland dropped out of high school. Cargile's campaign is also pushing out Facebook comments Stickland made bashing Bedford's school district. In Cargile's characterization of the choice, Stickland can't get nearly as much accomplished as Cargile would be able to. But do Republicans want to get anything accomplished in Austin?

More below the jump.Stickland has significantly more money in the bank than his opponent, but Cargile's $21,400 raised gives him “a fighting chance,” according to a Republican district clerk from the area. The question of whether Cargile can beat Stickland by bashing his lack of education (though he did get his GED) is an interesting one in a Republican primary. Rarely do Republicans tout their smarts as the source of their conservatism, or place a very high value on education at all. For a party that screams about bootstraps, working one's way to the top through education is not a top priority. In fact, it's possible Stickland's decision to drop out of high school and get a GED will be seen as more independent than a high school principal who got a full education.

None of it makes sense, of course. If Cargile were willing to do it, he would have very strong angles from which to push against Stickland. Last year, BOR revealed the horrible record of Stickland's Chief of Staff Tony McDonald. He has called homosexuality a “sickness,” called for literacy tests to vote, and held racially discriminatory events on the UT campus as president of the Young Conservatives of Texas. That's the same club that planned the “catch an illegal immigrant” game this fall. Stickland never responded to any of McDonald's actions, as a decent person would. In fact, Stickland received YCT's most recent “Rookie of the Year” award.

But perhaps more effective attacks in a Tarrant County Republican primary would come from other Facebook comments of Stickland's. In Facebook comments brought to light by Michael Watts and BOR, the freshman legislator voices some pretty anti-Republican positions. “I am pro- union rights, and I am pro-gay marriage,” he says in one post. “Monica do you read sweety? I hate Rush Limbaugh and I hate Fox news,” he says in another. There's a lot there for a Republican to slam.

But will he?


About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

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