Well, it had to happen. There is no such thing as gentlemanliness in a Texas Republican primary. Candidates enter with the intention of winning and as it gets closer to election day, start hyperventilating about the result. And so it is no surprise that the rhetoric in the race between incumbent Paul Simpson and challenger Chris Carmona turned sour after the first couple of days of early voting.
Incredibly, Chris Carmona joined up with Dr. Steven Hotze in calling Paul Simpson a RINO (see picture above of screenshot from Hotze’s endorsement video). Folks, if Paul Simpson is a RINO, you might as well do away with the name Republican. Simpson has actively worked to push the Republican brand and Republican candidates since he was 13 years old. I’ve known him since 2007 and he has been one of the hardest working advocates for Republicans that I have ever known. There might be some that work as hard but none that I know that work harder. Also, Hotze is running this ad on social media (for free for the Carmona campaign):
In his first term, RINO Paul Simpson, supported by the RINO business establishment, led the Harris County Republican Party to a disastrous defeat to the Democrats in the 2016 General Elections, our worst defeat in 73 years.
Apparently Hotze decided to overlook the disastrous results in 2008 and 2012 for Republicans under his and Jared Woodfill’s leadership. I certainly never heard him call Jared a RINO after getting crushed because of a presidential campaign. Also, I guess business leaders are no longer welcome in Hotze’s Republican Party. Mind boggling.
Unfortunately, Chris Carmona decided to go even further than calling Simpson a RINO, now he is a fraud. These screenshots are from a video that Carmona produced:
After seeing that video, I called Carmona and asked him if he really believed that. He emphatically stated that he stands by the claims in the video and says that he did do more than Simpson did in 2014. He told me that he was coordinating teams of high school students across the county and that he was on the ballot running in a very liberal district, insisting again that he deserves more credit than Simpson for those victories.
I remember that election quite a bit differently. I remember that when Jared Woodfill handed over the keys to the party, it was in dire financial straits. I remember that for the five months that Simpson had leading up to the November election, he was able to raise enough money to solve the financial problems and leveraged his relationships with RPT Chair Steve Munisteri and Greg Abbott to flood Harris County with money and political interns. I would think that Chris would at least recognize some of the obstacles that Simpson faced and overcame and at least share some of the credit with Simpson for those historic victories. Calling Simpson a fraud for talking about the success the party had that year strikes me as a candidate flailing away, hoping something sticks, no matter how little credibility it has.
During our conversation, I told Chris that I would look back at the history of that liberal district he was running in and let him know what I found. Here is what I found:
|Election Year||Republican Candidate|
% of Vote
|2008||Howard H. Gano, Jr.|
*Note: The 148th HD’s boundaries were slightly changed during the redistricting in 2011/12 to move some Republicans out and move some Democrats in.
When I sent that to Carmona, he said:
As I said earlier, not sure how that is germane to me working the entire county on behalf of all republicans, not just staying in 148.
You know what, I would normally agree that it wasn’t germane and I acknowledge that Carmona did work hard in a liberal district. I don’t know about the entire county but I’ll take his word for it. But if he is going to take credit for the victories and claim that Simpson did nothing to help, I think it is germane to point out that Republicans actually went backwards in the district in which he was a candidate. (note added after publication: Carmona thinks that the line “actually went backwards” is not accurate because of the changing district lines. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.)
All of the above is why I put in the headline to this post that Carmona had jumped the shark.
Now on to the other candidate’s campaign. During my phone call with Chris, I told him that I had not received or seen a single negative campaign email or social media ad about him. He scoffed at that and said that Simpson’s campaign manager was on Facebook saying negative things about him. I poked around and did find some instances of Nathan Gordon basically trolling Carmona supporters, talking about the fact that Carmona has never won an election so how can he help the party to win again.
And then yesterday, I did get the first negative shot over the bow from the Simpson campaign.
In less than four years, we’ve accomplished a lot in the Harris County Republican Party. When the pay-to-play slates ran the party, it was broke, shrinking, and ineffective. We flipped that control and have empowered our grassroots army. Now, the Harris County Republican Party is a thriving, financially secure, and state-of-the-art party operation.
The power brokers who run the pay-to-play voter guides are back again, putting all their weight behind a candidate who does not share our conservative values. My opponent panders to the liberal media elite, not Harris County Republicans.
The slates claim my opponent shares our values, but he openly defies the very principles they claim to have.
For instance, my opponent:
- Openly opposed the Republican platform
- Refused to support Donald Trump in 2016
- Opposed our Republican Legislature’s ban on sanctuary cities
- Promoted liberal Democrats over Republican candidates in 2016
- Claims to have a “Plan to Win” after running and losing for three different offices
The Houston Young Republicans recently put a spotlight on the discredited and deceptive practices of the so-called “Big Three” slates. They wrote in the Houston Chronicle:
“The Big Three conceal their motivations, place their own interests over qualifications and betray the Republican cause for profit. Their hypocrisy deserves to be brought out into the open.”
As a life-long grassroots Republican, I am devoted to furthering conservative principles and electing Republicans. That’s why I’ve received the support and endorsement from more than 300 elected officials, grassroots activists and conservative leaders. We cannot turn back to the time when the slates ran the party. I know we can defeat them now, as we did in 2014 and 2016.
The email was titled “They would endorse Obama to beat me”. From reading the email, the “they” would be Steve Hotze, Terry Lowry and Gary Polland. Yeah, I get a sense that they would endorse Obama over Simpson. Clearly they do not like the guy.
As you can see, the Simpson campaign set up an “informational” website listing some of what they perceive as Carmona’s faults. For some reason I wasn’t aware that Carmona supports full legalization of marijuana, not just for medicinal purposes. Hey, I’m right there with him on that. I know that Dr. Hotze and the little fella are very much opposed to legalization in any form but it’d be hard to find someone that they agreed with on everything. I’m glad that Carmona is out there talking about full legalization. See RAMP’s website for explanations of why I agree with him.
As for the other stuff, I said a while back that I was sure we would see some of Carmona’s thoughts from that e-magazine he produced. I didn’t know that they would find something he wrote here to object to but they did. Good thing I’m not running for chair, I’ve said all kinds of stuff they could pick apart.
I do find it odd that Carmona opposes the Sanctuary City law so adamantly and promoted HPD Chief Art Acevedo, whose idea of police work is getting on Twitter and denouncing Republicans. When that bill was passed, I recall saying that it virtually guaranteed that Greg Abbott would be reelected and I’ll stick to that. My guess is that Carmona was writing that for his intended audience, much like the claim that Christopher Columbus brought pillage and slaughter to the native peoples, along with fear, hate and desolation to some of the greatest empires. I think that Carmona is right about that from an historical basis but in today’s atmosphere in Republican politics, a lot of folks are going to be offended by that. Yes, we do have our share of snowflakes.
As I said from the beginning of this campaign, I’m not going to take sides and the above is my attempt at balance. Some people do not think I’m being balanced and constantly accuse me of supporting one or the other candidate. With that in mind, I’ll end this now very long post with a couple of emails I received via the Contact Page. I’ll let you decide if I’ve been fair to both.