The race for Texas’ SD 25 should have been cut and dry: conservative (Donna Campbell) vs. not (Jeff Wentworth). But now that Elizabeth Ames Jones has joined the race, I don’t know what to expect.
If Jones succeeds at presenting herself as a “proven, prepared constitutional conservative,” she could split the vote with Donna Campbell, and we may as well hand the seat right back to Wentworth. But she lacks the name recognition both other candidates have, especially after Campbell’s high-profile fight with Lloyd Doggett in the last election, as well as the infectious energy, the “fire in her belly” that endears Campbell to her many supporters.
Any way you look at it, Jones is an establishment Republican. It’s more likely – at least, I hope – she’ll split the vote with Wentworth, allowing Campbell to take the win like she should have in 2010.
(Or it could have no effect whatsoever. After all, Jones barely had $300,000 for a national Senate campaign by the end of Q3.)
Jones certainly talks all the right talk. There are a few minor bills she authored or voted for in her time as a state legislator I could take issue with, but I haven’t found anything horrendously un-conservative with her record. If Jones was the only Wentworth alternative, I might have considered voting for her.
But this race-switching move makes me question her commitment. Does it lie with the conservative cause or with personal victory? Holding political office is a privilege, not an entitlement; shopping around for a winnable race rather than identifying one goal and working towards it is the epitome of what’s wrong with our political system. I can’t help but wonder whether her votes will be influenced by the same gamesmanship. In the words of a friend of mine in politics, “I keep giving the party establishment the benefit of the doubt, and they always seem to fall short.”
My support remains solidly with Campbell. Any self-proclaimed conservative who votes for Wentworth in the primary doesn’t understand the meaning of the word. Any conservative who votes for Jones risks allowing political gamesmanship to bog down our political system.
Donna Campbell will be a much-needed breath of fresh air. I have no doubt in my mind that she will always vote with her conscience, regardless of what is politically advantageous.
Here’s to a real conservative – not a politician – in 2012.
If you live in SD 25, expect to see me knocking on your door with a Donna Campbell push card some time soon.
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