Thursday, May 19, 2016

And starring Ron Reynolds as Ken Paxton

Hasn't been within disgust tolerance limits for me to weigh in on, so thanks to the Observer for doing the dirty job.  The only difference between this guy and the AG is he's playing the race card instead of the 'persecuted Christian' card.

If Texas state Representative Ron Reynolds loses his fight against a 2015 conviction for ambulance chasing, the popular Fort Bend County Democrat may go to jail. But the three-term House member is running for reelection anyway — and using the conviction, which he says is racially motivated, as fuel for his campaign.

No wait, it's the Clarence Thomas card.

Since Reynolds’ conviction, which was handed down by a Montgomery County jury in November, the incumbent has [been] saying that he was “singled out because of [his] status as an African-American elected official.” He has also characterized the conviction as a “modern-day lynching” coming from a predominantly white county.
“Those are strong words,” Reynolds told Houston’s ABC affiliate. “I believe that this was so severe in the way that they went after me, and the way they went out to attack my character. They wanted nothing more than to paint me as a bad, bad black politician.”
Mustafa Tameez, a Houston area communications and public affairs consultant, says the conviction seems to be working in Reynolds’ favor.
“We’re seeing scandals, rather than [negatively] affecting the candidates, are becoming a rallying cry to galvanize the base,” he said. “There is a tactic in American politics now, that if you attack the media and you attack the system … that your primary electoral base is likely to give you a pass.”

Tell me about those differences between the GOP and the Dems again?

It’s a strategy that’s worked well for Republicans in recent months. In his run to secure the GOP presidential nomination, Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked reporters. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has come under fire for spending taxpayer dollars on personal trips, has attributed his troubles to the “liberal left” attacking his Christian beliefs.
And then there’s Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was facing a potential securities fraud indictment during his 2014 runoff against Dan Branch. He still managed to win 66 percent of the vote. In July 2015 — seven months after taking office — he was formally indicted and now faces an additional federal lawsuit.
Like Reynolds, Paxton is vowing to fight the charges to the end.

It's gone like this for a long time now for Reynolds.

Reynolds entered his first primary race with more than just a conviction: Former clients have filed multiple lawsuits alleging legal malpractice, and he’s racking up significant legal expenses. Reynolds also can’t practice law during his appeal, and the Houston Chronicle called for him to drop out of the House race.

I'm sure it's all a conspiracy.

I just can't tolerate this kind of behavior as well as I used to.  If Democrats want this kind of person representing them, then that's on them.

Reynolds has the support of Houston bigwigs such as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and state Representative Senfronia Thompson, and says dropping out would be a “disservice” to his constituents.
“The people here they think I’m doing a great job,” he said. “So why would I appease a small fraction of my constituents that don’t want to see me in office?”
Don Bankston, chairman of the Fort Bend County Democrats, describes HD 27 voters as intensely loyal, and many give Reynolds a pass.“Most people don’t relate to [ambulance chasing], they don’t see a real issue with it,” Bankston said.

That's almost exactly what RNC head Reince Preibus said about Trump and women on This Weak with Snufflelugas last Sunday morning.  Congratulations, Mr. Chairman; you've also passed your sell-by date.

Hazel Lundy, a 65-year-old Fort Bend County precinct judge and Democrat, has supported Reynolds “since day one.” Rather than the legal issues, Lundy judges Reynolds on his legislative record, especially his joint sponsorship of a bill expanding the use of police body cameras. While Lundy hesitates to call the conviction racially motivated, the way officials orchestrated Reynolds’ arrest — complete with a grey and black striped jumpsuit and handcuffs — gave her pause.
“Some of that is a bit disturbing,” she said. “I don’t want to call everything racial … but even a blind eye could see some of that.”

Reynolds and his supporters haven't just blamed the vagaries of the criminal justice system with respect to black folks, which is a legitimate concern that Reynolds has parlayed into a sympathetic appeal for himself.  What's happening to Rep. Reynolds and what happened to Sandra Bland are not comparable.

He and his runoff challenger, Angelique Bartholomew, have gone at each other hammer and tong.

Bartholomew also frequently reminds voters of Reynolds’ legal rapsheet, and Reynolds has starting firing back, highlighting Bartholomew’s four bankruptcies, which she largely attributed to the economic downturn.
Reynolds has also targeted Bartholomew’s 2005 involvement with a local Republican organization, which she confirmed, adding that she got involved at a time before she became interested in politics. She told the Observer she’s “definitely” progressive, supporting Medicaid expansion, increases to public education funding, and birth control and abortion access.
“In the process of getting active and volunteering in the community, I worked with Republican women, and I still will work with Republican women,” she said. “I work with women, and I think that women’s issues are unique to any other issue.”

Reynolds nearly won the first round with 48.5 percent of the vote, and conventional political wisdom says an incumbent would be in serious danger in a runoff.  But this part of Fort Bend County isn't conventional.

Bartholomew, who is also African American, and Reynolds are fighting to represent Texas House District 27, one of the fastest growing counties in the country. The predominantly African American and Hispanic district is home to about 170,000 voters and hasn’t seen a Democratic primary since 2010, when Reynolds beat seven-term incumbent Dora Olivo.

So I expect to see Reynolds sent back to Austin to represent the people of the 27th... for as long as he can stay out of prison, that is.

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