A bit of mudslinging going on in the HD23 Republican primary race between incumbent Wayne Faircloth and challenger Mayes Middleton. But first a look at Faircloth’s latest endorsement list:
Representative Wayne Faircloth Releases Endorsements
- National Rifle Association (NRA)
- Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA)
- Texas State Riffle Association (TSRA)
- Texas Alliance for Life (TAL)
- Texans for Life Coalition
- Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) PAC
- Texas Farm Bureau (AGFUND)
- Texas Society of Anesthesiologists
- Texas Medical Association (TEXPAC)
- Texas Manufacturers Association
- Texas Hospital Association (HOSPAC) PAC
- Texas Municipal Police OfficersAssociation (TMPA)
- Independent Bankers Association (IBA)
- Texas Hotel and Lodging Association
- Texas Restaurant Association
- Texas Retail Association
- Texas Realtors Association (TREPAC)
- Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLRPAC)
- Texas Association of Business PAC
- National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Texas
- Associated Republicans of Texas (ART)
- Baytown Firefighters Association
“As someone who is endorsed by the following statewide groups, which represents almost every major industry and constituency in the district, it’s clear that I am the right candidate for the job. During my two terms in office, I remained committed to supporting House District 23. I fought for University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas A&M University-Galveston, our college institutions, for greater public education funding and reforms, tourism, expanding heavy haul corridors around our ports, beach re-nourishment, funding for Pelican Island Bridge, addressing public safety measures, Hurricane Harvey recovery, reducing our overall tax burden in Texas and TWIA reform.” said, Rep. Wayne Faircloth.
“During this next legislative session, I want to continue to fight for my district. My focus will be on jobs, reduction of property taxes, public school finance reform, border security, Harvey relief and less government regulations.”
A fourth generation Texan, Representative Faircloth graduated from Sam Houston State University before becoming a teacher and a coach. After his tenure as an educator, Representative Faircloth worked as a manufacturer’s representative for Merck, Inc. at the University of Texas Medical Branch before starting his own business as a State Farm Agent in Dickinson, Texas. Representative Faircloth has served on the Texas Pilots Commission, Galveston County Water District #1-Board of Directors, and Dickinson City Council prior to being elected in 2014 to the Texas House of Representatives of House District 23 (Chambers and Galveston Counties)
Looks like he has the lobbyist vote nailed down.
Now to the mud. Recall that his opponent was the first to throw dirt though.
Faircloth levels two charges here. First, he says that Middleton doesn’t live in the district. I don’t think that those type of attacks work any longer. I mean, even if he does live in Houston proper, he is clearly deeply involved in the Chambers County area where he grew up. Maybe he wants to send his kids to one of the high quality private schools in the River Oaks area. And I’m not saying he does live in Houston, only that if he does, does it matter to anyone in the district? I doubt it. And if you look at Middleton’s Chambers County property tax bill, that is the one he uses his homestead exemption on. So my guess is that he doesn’t live in Houston. But he might sleep there a lot!
The second charge is where the mud flies and I’m not so certain that Faircloth is accurate in his claims. In the ad, the voiceover says “Middleton has a massive property tax exemption on his Houston mansion. While he gets a special tax break, he wants to cut school funding for our kids.” But is that true?
I looked up Middleton’s Houston property tax bill on hctax.net. There is an exemption listed but it is for the City of Houston and there is no exemption for the Houston Independent School District. In fact, he paid $48,268 in taxes to HISD. And that is in addition to the $8,417.51 he paid to the Anahuac ISD. That’s a considerable amount more than most of us pay in school taxes and that doesn’t include his various business properties. I don’t think that Faircloth’s claim that Middleton is getting a special tax break holds up under scrutiny, especially given that Faircloth links the attack to school taxes.
But what about the claim that Middleton wants to cut school funding? Well, I couldn’t find anything to directly back up that claim but I haven’t been to every forum, so perhaps he said it somewhere. This is on Middleton’s website about schools:
Expand Education Opportunities and Parental Rights
Our rights as parents come from God, not the government. Parents know best when it comes to the education of their children, so we need to give them opportunities to suit their children’s unique needs, whether that means access to public, private, charter, or homeschooling. To do this, we need to allow state money spent on education to follow the child.
Reform School Finance
Our school finance formulas are a disaster. We must totally start over, including abolishing the Robin Hood redistribution of wealth program and making sure teachers and classrooms come first.
That looks like standard social conservative Republican policy to me. Most likely Faircloth is against school choice like a lot of us older, traditional Republicans who want to improve the public system while Middleton is for school choice like a lot of Republicans that focus more on social conservative policy. So given that Middleton does support school choice and that school choice would pull money out of the current public system, I’d say that Faircloth’s claim that Middleton wants to cut school funding is accurate but needs context.
Sling away fellas! I’ve got plenty of popcorn. As as the little fella says, it’s okay to lie in politics!