First there were the trial lawyers.
Two of them — Steve Mostyn and Amber Anderson, a husband-and-wife team from Houston — recently told Houston Chronicle reporter R.G. Ratcliffe that they'll spend as much as $3 million this election cycle to try to take down Republican Gov. Rick Perry and add Democrats in the Texas House.
Then there was Cliff Walker, 30, a somewhat obscure legislative aide for state Rep. Joe Farias, a somewhat obscure San Antonio Democrat.
The lawyers plucked Walker from Austin's sideline several months ago, and he used their money to build the Back to Basics political action committee.
That's the organization behind a stark, full-page newspaper ad last week targeting Perry's refusal to debate — deep breath — until Democrat Bill White releases his tax returns from the mid-1990s when he served as deputy U.S. energy secretary. Regardless of your response to the ad, whether it was anger or agreement, the black-and-white portrait of an uncharacteristically tentative-looking Perry, with the word “Coward” streaming underneath, will be one of most memorable images from this campaign season.
“We felt it was time to make it serious,” said Walker, the PAC's director.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
It is going to be extra difficult for Joe Farias in 2011...
The San Antonio Express News wrote a profile about Cliff Walker and the Back to Basics PAC, which is apparently runs (link). Excerpt follows...
photo from the Walker Report... no relation to Cliff as far as I know (link)
Assuming this Cliff Walker guy goes back to work for Joe Farias during the session, Farias may have more trouble than he might otherwise have had... if I were Rick, the veto pen might come out on anything with Farias' name on it... just arbitrarily and capriciously...
Then again, is Cliff Walker just the face they are putting on this organization to distract from the likelihood that the PAC is being run by career politician Bill White's closest handlers? Is a mere 30 year old really in charge of millions of dollars of negative ads? On the one hand it is hard to see that being the case... there probably needs to be a real adult in charge for anyone to throw down that kind of money... on the other hand the frivolous product Back to Basics puts out with all of that trial lawyer money does point to amateurs being involved at high levels... not just the quality of the product... the decisions and the messaging themselves... they are not choosing winning ideas to run on. Many of their ads are straight up hypocritical and easily proven so... they aren't moving voters or convincing anyone of anything... the coward ad probably backfired and hurt Bill White according to my discussions with veteran political observers.
It is hard to know just how much coordination there is between the White campaign and the Back to Basics PAC... but one thing is clear... it has been a monumental waste of money but will only add to Rick's political legacy of overcoming challengers who out spent him in nearly every race he has ever run.