Decision Is Yours

bobIt’s Like This
By BOB PALMER

JEFFERSON – Republicans voting in Tuesday’s primary do have a choice for state representative. They can have right or way-right.

Four-term incumbent Chris Paddie of Marshall has solid conservative credentials and is endorsed by every PAC with letters for a name from the NRA to TAR.

Mark Williams from Carthage not only has drunk the far-right Kool-Aid, but he sells it.

Last week,the Jimp visited with both Paddie and Williams in separate, wide-ranging interviews.

Williams waved a list of Republican Party platform issues and chastised Paddie for tepid support of many of that document’s planks.

Among the issues Williams cited were “Constitutional Carry” and a “Fetal Heartbeat” bill. Constitutional carry would grant Texans a constitutional right to carry firearms, not requiring them to first get a license. Fetal heartbeat would create an even stricter abortion restriction.

Paddie correctly points out that he did not vote against either bill, since neither bill made it out of committee and he did not serve on the committee where the bills were sent to die from old age.

Williams fumes that Paddie should have least added his name to the list of sponsors.

Paddie was leery of backing a bill that could morph into something unacceptable during the legislative process.

A story is passed around the political campfires that Harry Truman once observed that the platform is what you stand on to get on the train. You don’t take the platform with you when the train leaves the station.

What we have here is a scene played out across campaign stumps since Sam Houston did not like the looks of Mirabeau B. Lamar. Williams paints Paddie as a slick politician. If being articulate, smart and experienced is the definition of slick, then Paddie should plead guilty. 

The larger question, however, is what do you want in a state representative. Some think the representative should stick to their views even when it is not the political thing to do. Laws get passed only when a majority of each house agrees. To get that majority requires making deals and backing Joe’s bill, because he will vote for mine.

This election is really about redistricting. We have a census this year. That’s why Beto O’Rourke is doing everything he can to elect Democrats to the state House of Representatives. Once this primary is in his rearview mirror, Paddie plans to join the state-wide GOP effort.

Flip nine Republican seats and you will have a Democratic Speaker of the House and a DOA Republican congressional redistricting map. 

All of this is to say, that if Williams is elected, he will not be re-elected or will no longer be the Marion County representative after 2022.

As either the chairman or vice-chairman of the House redistricting committee, Paddie can draw line on a map to suit himself. Williams will not even have a Crayola in the coloring contest.

Something similar happened in 2010 in District 3. Conservative Republican Erwin Cain upset Democrat Mark Homer. Cain immediately declared his opposition to fellow Republican Speaker Joe Strauss. District 3 was blown up during redistricting and the pieces served to the more senior representatives surrounding it.

With 10,000 population, Marion County will be a tempting morsel to be gobbled up by its neighbors, if a Paddie is not there to hold onto District 9.

Many find this primary a contest between principle and politics. Paddie is certainly a conservative Republican. He may just not be Republican enough for some. You can certainly vote for Williams, who appears to be a very hard working campaigner spending his own money in this long-odds fight. 

Just understand principle can come with a political price tag.

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