House District 94 in west Arlington is becoming a key race to keep an eye out for as voters are becoming more and more aware of the stark contrast between the two main candidates running for office — Democrat Cole Ballweg and Tea Party extremist Tony Tinderholt. The district seat was most recently held by Representative Diane Patrick, a moderate Republican ousted from office during the Republican primaries by Tinderholt, who relied on heavy Tea Party support to pull off the upset. The district seat has not been held by a Democrat in decades. Yet, this could very well change come November.
According to an internal poll by Ballweg’s campaign, the race is virtually tied between Ballweg and Tinderholt. The poll showed support split between Tinderbolt at 48%, and Ballweg at 46%. Despite HD 94 being a red district, just listening to Tinderholt speak is proof enough as to why this Tea Party extremist may lose in November.
Earlier last month, we reported at Burnt Orange Report remarks made by Tinderholt advocating for violence at the border as a solution to immigration. Tinderholt also proposed invading Mexico. As expected, Tinderholt’s comments regarding immigration and the border have sparked great concern to Democrats and centrist-leaning Republicans.
Harvey Kronberg, editor and publisher of the Quorum Report, said this about Tinderholt’s absurd remarks:
“Tony Tinderholt … has created so much anxiety among the Republican business types that we definitely will see some crossover votes. He has not impressed the Republican establishment or people in Austin.”
Tinderholt, however, has managed to impress the likes of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and state Senator Dan Patrick, both now strong supporters of Tinderholt. Cruz and Patrick have even block-walked for Tinderholt in the district. Tinderholt is essentially running his campaign mirroring the same Tea Party talking points used by both Cruz and Patrick. His top priorities include militarizing our border, supporting and passing anti-abortion legislation, advancing Second Amendment rights, and stopping additional federal mandates on medicare.
It’s difficult to process Tinderholt’s comments regarding the border and immigration. Saying “[p]eople are gonna die … It’s the only thing that’s gonna stop this infiltration of our country,” when speaking of young children crossing the border is simply alarming. Wanting to send American troops across the border into Mexico is complete nonsense.
Ballweg, also a political newcomer, has been quick to point out all the Tea Party absurdity.
“I am running because I am fed up with the know-nothing extremists taking over Texas government,” said Ballweg. “Diane Patrick fought to restore funding for our public schools and was attacked as a ‘RINO’ (Republican in Name Only).”
Ballweg’s campaign priorities would actually benefit people from HD 94 in west Arlington. His campaign priorities include supporting education, business and the economy, equal pay for women, and sustainable water resources. Ballweg, a local business owner, also has the potential to appeal to moderate Republicans earlier supporting Diane Patrick.
Tinderholt insists that his campaign priorities are the real “issues that affect the people who live in District 94.” Business, education, and equal pay? Not so much. Tinderholt has failed to argue, though, how further militarizing our border and sending troops into Mexico would actually benefit west Arlington.
Arlington is over 500 miles away from the border, or approximately an 8 hour drive. Why Tinderholt and his supporters would ever prioritize their district’s resources on a place so far away shows the complete lack of reason in their Tea Party agenda.
The Tea Party has become obsessed with the border — issues and people most of them have never even seen in their lives. It comes to no surprise that candidates like Ted Cruz, Dan Patrick, and Tony Tinderholt are taking total advantage of this false hysteria to advance their own personal agendas, playing into the fears of right-wing voters.
Conservatives like Tinderholt are becoming increasingly comfortable speaking what is truly on their mind, spewing all kinds of xenophobic and racist views without fearing any backlash from voters. Yet, if Ballweg’s internal poll shows actual true signs, it seems like voters in HD 94 might not let Tinderholt get away with his fear mongering messages, after all.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.