Friday, October 16, 2015
Konni Burton's SD-24 Forum reveals candidate's character
"Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”"
[Update: We are told Reed Williams had a commitment in Travis County last night that had been scheduled before Konni Burton announced the date of the forum. Apparently, the Bell County GOP chair's 'warning' wasn't the reason he missed the event. We apologize, but we still believe the underlying logic applies to other candidates.]
Temple, TX -- Last night, Senator Konni Burton held a very revealing candidate forum for the open seat in SD-24. The race currently has seven declared candidates. Last night begins the process of elimination.
The forum became unnecessarily controversial when the Bell County GOP Chair Nancy Boston threw a tantrum. Thus, showing up became an early test of candidate backbone. If you retreat from a county GOP chair with a stick up her butt, how are you going to resist the special interests in Austin?!?
Against this backdrop, C.J. Grisham, Brent Mayes, and Ryan Downton were the only candidates with the cojones to participate.
The three candidates gave largely similar answers on policy. All three named illegal immigration as the top issue facing the state. All three support banning taxpayer funded lobbying. All three oppose Greg Abbott's pre-K program. All three oppose raiding the rainy day fund except for genuine emergencies (eg. natural disasters or terrorist attacks). All three support traditional marriage but also support reducing the government's footprint in the process. All three support a statewide ban on red-light cameras.
The most notable exchange of the evening was when Downtown came out AGAINST Constitutional Carry, to which Grisham replied "I take offense to anyone saying the police have more rights than we do."
In response to a question about which state agencies they'd eliminate, Grisham cited the Lower Colorado River Authority, Mayes cited the Texas Film Commission and the Texas Enterprise Fund, Downton cited some trial lawyer boondoggle of which we didn't catch the name.
Bottom Line: In any race, there are moments that reveal character. The modest amount of pressure the Bell County GOP placed on the candidates gave them a chance to show how they would act when they face far greater pressure in Austin. Last night, only three of the seven candidates passed this first (modest) test.