With Fort Bend an increasingly one party
political county-Republican-it was inevitable that contested
races would become dirty. The Republican party has so
dominated politics in Fort Bend County just long enough for
candidates to realize that the only way to get elected is to
run as a Republican, and if they won the primary, they
likely would not have an opponent in November. This has
caused candidates to run as Republican whether they were
Republican or not, and it has caused may primary races to
become hard-fought contests.
County Clerk Dianne Wilson has been the
recipient of attacks by not only an opponent whose
Republican credentials are suspicious, a county commissioner
whose motives are suspicious, but a daily newspaper on the
west side of the county.
Wilson has served 23 years and is
generally believed to be one of the best elected officials
in Fort Bend County. Heretofore she has run unopposed.
However, her opponent has used a “phone
tree” to scare elderly voters by accusing her of putting
confidential records on the county’s web site.
Wilson’s office places all county records
filed in her office on the internet and have been doing so
since 2000. By law, she can’t cross out information that
might be construed as “confidential.” She says that to keep
these records in her office only, she would have to make
additional staff and computers available to the public and
the internet records saves the county money ultimately.
Another series of calls by her opponent
accuse Wilson of suing the county for higher pay. Wilson,
and a group of other female elected officials did sue for
pay parity several years ago and the county commissioners
settled before it came to court.
On her part, Wilson has remained sanguine
and has did little advertising to counteract her opponent’s
rhetoric. However, she has campaigned hard at attending
every candidate’s forum and/or civic event, although in the
past, Wilson can usually be counted on to participate in
most events, opponent or no opponent.
In the Republican primary race for County
Court at Law #2 Judge, incumbent Walter McMeans and
challenger Rick Forlano have gone at it tooth and nail as
Forlano has accused McMeans of not moving his docket fast
enough, and McMeans has accused Forlano of not being a very
good attorney before his court. The argument has even
degenerated to the point that both men challenge who Sugar
Land Mayor David Wallace is supporting.
In the Republican county chair race,
current and retiring chairman Eric Thode has endorsed Gary
Gillen, but he has also pointed out that a New Territory
group that interviewed candidates may be violating the Texas
election laws by failing to register as a PAC. Several local
media has covered the story. On Friday, many Republicans
received an email from FBISD board president Lisa Rickert, a
member of the group, and several other group members, to the
effect that Thode was just mad because they had endorsed
someone other than the county chair candidate he had chosen
to secede him.
The Charlie Howard/Ron Booker state
representative race has engendered a few harsh words, mainly
Howard targeting houses with Booker signs, and Booker
listing the legislative failure of the last session which he
lumps with Howard.
Finally, the District Attorney has
accused his opponent Larry McDougal of being a bad municipal
court judge in Beasley and Tom Campbell, Pat Baig, and
Michael Fjetland have accused Tom DeLay of everything.
So gone are the good ol’ days when
Republicans didn’t even run against each other, much less
air their dirty laundry in public. However, for political
junkies, it has given us a view of some of the foibles of
the candidates and has kept the primary season, which is
usually ho hum, interesting