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Slings & Arrows

Don’t let character assassination affect your vote


Politics is full of hyperbole.

Donald Trump warned that if Joe Biden was elected, we wouldn’t have a country any more.

Biden warns that democracy is at stake if Trump is re-elected.

Last time I checked, we still have a country and we still have a democracy.

“True believers” on either side probably earnestly believe the hype, but I think voters in general take it with a grain of salt.

However, a line is crossed when political “hype” becomes dangerous disinformation, which is happening at an alarming rate locally.

At this newspaper, we strive on our news pages to be as objective as possible. On our staff we have people with a variety of political opinions, but our policy is that those opinions are “checked at the door’ when writing news items.

At the same time, occasionally a situation occurs that is so egregious that something must be said. In those instances, there can be no objectivity, because giving “both sides” is not fair to the truth of the situation.

Such a case is the race for state representative in House District 60 between Dr. Glenn Rogers and Michael Olcott.

People who have voted in Republican primaries (like me and the vast majority of Parker County voters) are getting their mailboxes and social media flooded with hit pieces attacking Rogers.

I have received a couple of pieces attacking Olcott, but nothing like the asymmetrical bombing that is happening against Rogers.

In my mailbox it started with a photo of Rogers and the obligatory addition of Nancy Pelosi, as if there was any crossover of political thought between the two, with hundred-dollar bills floating in the background, proclaiming with the big word “FACT” that “Glenn Rogers voted with every Democrat to increase his pension this session.”

Except it is not a fact. It’s a lie.

First and foremost, Rogers does not even qualify to receive a state pension at this point in his career as a state representative. The back side of the mailer had a big photo of Rogers on a “Wanted” poster with the word “CRIME” in large capital letters.

The mailer originated from “Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.”

Here’s a shocker for you. Their current campaign finance report shows no contributors, and a total of $60 in contributions, leading to the question: “who are these people?”

The same organization sent out at least two additional mailers accusing Rogers of a “reckless spending spree” and again doubling down on the pension lie.

I would like to talk to someone from that organization for consultation on financial efficiency. It’s amazing what they have been able to do on just $60!

And then there’s the mailer from “MakeLibertyWin” accusing Rogers of taking food off your child’s table (I kid you not).

The return address on the mailer is Dallas, but the organization’s registered location is Alexandria, Virginia. Their campaign finance report shows $380,000 on hand, but guess what — no list of contributors.

I have six large mailers from the “AFC Victory Fund,” also based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Now these folks have some money on hand — more than $5 million. (I guess it costs more than $60 to mail large glossy attack pieces from Virginia).

AFC Victory Fund’s largest contributor is Betsy DeVos, and its stated purpose is to defeat Texas legislators who stand in the way of getting educational vouchers passed.

The AFC mailers use the phrase “liberal unions” a lot, always with a grainy photo of Rogers, and all extremely misleading in terms of their characterization of Rogers’ voting record and political philosophy.

Oh, and also another “Wanted” poster — how original.

The latest attack piece I received came from “Texans United for a Conservative Majority PAC.”

This PAC shows one contribution of $20,000, but more than $1 million on hand. And while their filing is short on information, we actually know who these people are.

Their lineage goes back to an organization called “Empower Texans,” which ran into hot water when some of their leaders were recorded making light of Gov. Abbott being in a wheelchair. When the brand lost its luster, they re-branded as “Defend Texas Liberty PAC.”

You may or may not remember that the head of Defend Texas Liberty was Jonathan Stickland, who, in addition to being the only contributor to the “Concerned Parents of Aledo PAC” that opposed the last school bond election, was also caught meeting with Nick Fuentes, a Nazi sympathizer, on the same day that Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi also just happened to stop by.


Defend Texas Liberty became a toxic brand, and now they are “Texans United for a Conservative Majority PAC.”

Their major funding comes from West Texas billionaires Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, who apparently own the Texas Senate and are now on their way to buying the House of Representatives.

Their goal, aside from dismantling public education, is to have Texas be ruled according to their version of Christianity, which condones lying and utilizing misleading messages to gain their political aims, and supports morally reprehensible office holders as long as they are sufficiently “conservative.”

The flyer from Empower Texans/Defend Texas Liberty/Texans United… again used the now tired photo of Nancy Pelosi, attempting to associate Rogers with someone who has absolutely no political overlap.

They also added photos of California Rep. Adam Schiff and Senator Mitt Romney, which I guess passes for creativity among these folks.

I also received a mailer accusing Rogers of allowing seven million illegal immigrants to cross the border since he took office. Again, I kid you not.

In terms of the mailers polluting my mailbox, I have saved the worst for last.

A mailer arrived with the blaring headline “WE DON’T WANT SHARIA LAW IN TEXAS.”

The other side of the mailer accused Rogers of wanting tax dollars to go to celebrate Muslim holidays.

There is so much wrong with this mailer I don’t know where to start. Republicans around the state rightly condemned the mailer, which also attacked Republicans in other parts of the state. It was factually false, it was misleading, and it was insulting to the intelligence of anyone who received it.

But wait, there’s more.

The mailer was sent by “Texas Family Project,” which is run by Brady Gray, who prides himself on the fact he worked for Stickland’s organization. Gray is also chairman of the Republican Party of Parker County!

Last time I checked, taking sides was not an appropriate role for a county chair.

Although early voting has begun, I’m sure the attacks will continue, and we will probably learn that Glenn Rogers eats babies and steals lunch money from orphans.

You may be reading this thinking I am advocating to vote for Rogers, but I’m not. You should vote based on who you think would best represent you in the Texas House of Representatives.

But you should not vote based on the character assassination of a good man.


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  • DanSullivan

    Randy, I’m disappointed in you.

    This is so misleading. To start off your piece by saying you strive for objectivity and then fail to be objective, that’s bold.

    First of all, the “vast majority” of voters in Parker County are not Republican Primary voters. They might be Republicans, but not primary voters.

    Second, you can find things in common with Pelosi and Rogers. She also opposes letting parents of all incomes choose what school to send their children to. So to suggest that there is no “crossover of political thought” between the two is a flat-out lie. Is it a little excessive to compare Rogers to her? Sure. But there’s a reason why Rogers has consistently been ranked as one of the least conservative members of the Texas House by the University of Houston (https://www.texastribune.org/2023/12/15/mark-jones-texas-house-special-2023-liberal-conservative-scores/).

    Most people at the bottom of that chart represent moderate districts, ones that statewide Republicans often lose, such as Guillen in South Texas or Allison in San Antonio. Rogers represents one of the most conservative districts in Texas, making it pretty obvious he’s out of touch with his voters.

    Third, how can you sit there and act like you’re objective and not advocating for Rogers, while not talking about the attacks Olcott has faced? Rogers claimed he has a yacht for gods sake. There have been many others awful attacks on Olcott. If you were objective you would talk about both in detail. There’s a reason you chose to just talk about the Rogers ones, and it’s the opposite of objectivity. You talk about all the money behind Olcott, why not talk about all the money behind Rogers? Again, you’re not being objective. You’re misleading voters. Taking sides is not appropriate for a party chair, and it’s also not appropriate for a journalist. You’re just as guilty as Gray.

    P.S. Did you really go through the entire lineage of Empower Texans and then say you don’t know who Texans for Fiscal Responsibility is? Cmon dude your research was so shallow. TFR is the same group, the precursor to Empower.

    The fact that these groups who attacked Abbott, made fun of him, spent millions trying to beat him in the last election, support Olcott…and the Governor is also supporting Olcott…shows just how bad of a representative Dr. Rogers has been. But you don’t mention that at all.

    Write all you want, advocate all you want, but don’t sit there and say you’re objective. That is the biggest lie of them all.

    Wednesday, February 28 Report this