While the Presidential race continues to suck a lot of the air out of the Texas political atmosphere, vitally important down-ballot races are kicking into high gear as early voting approaches. The race for HD-17 (Bastrop, Fayette, Lee, Burleson, Colorado counties)is heating up as the GOP looks to pick up the seat vacated by Robby Cook (D-Eagle Lake) and Donnie Dippel works hard to keep it in the Democratic column.
Rick Perry tool Tim Kleinschmidt has been spending gobs of PAC and lobbyist money (much of it from the likes of TLR, TX Oil and Gas PAC, and Bob Perry) trying to discredit Dippel and press hot buttons like he's done with his insidious mailers. The latest one I received (thanks, Tim!) touts his “plan to secure our borders” by spending state funds on border enforcement and requiring photo I.D. to vote. Apparently the cookie-cutters who designed his campaign neglected to tell Tim that border security is a FEDERAL issue and that photo I.D. for voting is an unconstitutional imposition akin to a poll tax.
Needless to say, Tim is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Kleinschmidt was recently busted for paying his daughter with campaign funds in direct violation of state election laws, and also apparently tried to film his campaign commercials during a non-partisan public forum in Bastrop recently. Later that week, at another candidate forum in Colorado County (in which the parties had agreed to no candidate cameras), Kleinschmidt failed to even show up and sent a surrogate instead. Clearly he's not interested in talking about the issues, since he's apparently confused about a number of them: Kleinschmidt mentions “supporting local schools” but also supports private school vouchers (which is it, Tim?), and claims to oppose toll roads and the TTC ( a new position from 2006…) while having fundraisers hosted by the Godfathers of the Toll Road Lobby like Perry and Mike Toomey. But despite his many ties with big insurance, big oil, and various other anti-labor and anti-working family forces that have made the Capitol and Guv's Mansion their personal playground for the last 10+ years – Tim claims he's an “independent voice” for rural Texas “values” !
Meanwhile, long-time Fayette County rancher and ag consultant Donnie Dippel (who would the cows really support, Tim?) is running on a sound platform that speaks to the actual issues affecting working families of the 17th District: fully funding our public schools and bringing back vocational training programs(strengthening the rural labor force), support for rural health care services like CHIP and local hospitals, support for volunteer fire departments and rural law enforcement, repealing the Republican-enacted small business tax, (back to those “small town values” again) , protecting our water resources (as Kleinschmidt sells his water out of the District!) and encouraging economic development in HD-17, with it's mix of rural and exurban communities. Dippel is also pro-2nd Amendment and an avid sportsman, and wants to restore funding and proper stewardship for our parks and public lands. As an assistant State Ag commissioner in charge of pesticide management for many years, it was Dippel's job to understand the dangers posed to our environment by various chemicals and to see that they were used properly and effectively by licensed professionals. Dippel understands the needs of farm and ranch families and advocates for them. He's worked in and out of state government and has navigated the bureaucracy; he knows how it works and how we can make it work better for us – it's why he's running for this seat.
Kleinschmidt seems to have only two weapons in his arsenal: fear and dishonesty. In 2006 he also spent gobs of corporate money trying to tie Robby Cook to NAIS, and came up just shy - losing by ~ 400 votes – though his disinformation flipped a number of votes among farmers and ranchers in the district. This time, however, many of those same swing voters say they won't be fooled by Timmy again – many of his misleading advertising and direct mail was exposed in the wake of the 2006 race. But apparently Tim hasn't learned his lesson yet, and thinks he can “close the deal” in 2008.
Well, not on our watch, friend-o. Tim may have cookie stacks of corporate money, but Donnie has the right message and the grassroots ground support to keep HD 17 Democratic.
But he needs our help. Craddick and his associated PACs have made it clear that they'll spend what they have to to steal this seat – DON'T LET THEM BUY HD-17. If we flip 5 other seats but lose this one, it'll all be for naught.
Contribute to Donnie Dippel's campaign here to help us give Craddick and the House Republicans the BOOT!