|HARLINGEN, November 29 - Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is promoting a scorecard which claims he is just as conservative as one of his rivals for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick.
The analysis comes from Mark Jones, chairman of Rice University’s political science department, and recently appeared in Texas Weekly. Jones looked at the voting record of Texas state senators. Before becoming agriculture commissioner, Staples was in the Senate.
Of a Patrick vs. Staples matchup, Jones wrote: “While the Senate tenures of Patrick and Staples did not coincide, the two served in adjacent legislative periods, Staples in 2005 and Patrick in 2007, making it quite feasible to use joint-scaling methods to accurately compare their respective locations along the same Liberal-Conservative dimension.
“This joint analysis of the 2005 and 2007 legislative periods finds Patrick and Staples had the two most conservative Lib-Con scores among the 36 senators (22 Republicans and 14 Democrats) who served in either the 2005 session alone (five senators), the 2007 session alone (five) or both sessions (25). Patrick and Staples’ respective CIs overlap considerably, indicating that, based on their most comparable roll call voting records, neither can credibly be considered noticeably more conservative than the other. In sum, Staples’ voting record was as conservative as Patrick’s, and vice versa.”
Jones is the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s Fellow in Political Science, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and the chairman of the Department of Political Science at Rice University.
In addition to Staples and Patrick, R-Houston, the other Republicans running for lieutenant governor are incumbent David Dewhurst and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
Staples is also touting his recent endorsement by the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, which advocates for private-property owner rights.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association. These tremendous Texas leaders recognize we need a proven advocate for property rights and border security as our next Lieutenant Governor,” Staples said. “South Texas landowners are regularly becoming victims of intimidation, aggression and outright violence by armed trespassers that often have direct ties to Mexico’s drug cartels. As Lieutenant Governor I will work with property owners, law enforcement and the federal government to secure our border and reform immigration.”
Lavoyger Durham, a STPRA board member, said the group was founded on the issue of border security.
“There is only one candidate who fully understands the issue and has a plan that can solve this huge disaster. I get discouraged when I hear candidates spouting one dimensional, hot button solutions without having any idea of what they are talking about,” Durham said.
“Todd has been down here to South Texas many times and has talked to us and gone all over our farms and ranches to understand the issue first-hand. He has done as much as any single office-holder in Texas to find a solution to the problem and bring it to the public’s attention. And he is the only one who has had the courage to talk about the real solution. As a board member of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, I am very proud that we have endorsed him.”
Staples said he has utilized money from the Agriculture budget to help expand Operation Drawbridge, which is operated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. He said this initiative installs and monitors low-cost, high-tech motion-detecting cameras on landowners’ properties to improve surveillance capabilities along the Texas/Mexico border. “Since January 2012, Operation Drawbridge has led to the apprehension of more than 18,000 individuals and the confiscation of nearly 40 tons of drugs,” a news release from the Staples campaign states. Staples says he has a six point plan to reform immigration that “starts with border security and it does not include amnesty.”
Staples recently announced his statewide campaign finance committee. It includes more than 200 well-known Republican donors from across Texas. Here are the committee members from the Rio Grande Valley:
Othal Brand, Jr., of McAllen.
Tina Buford of Harlingen.
Christine and Richard Butler of Harlingen.
Mia and Joshua Fields of Harlingen.
Sandra and David Flinn of Harlingen.
Adrienne and Jimmy Garza of Pharr.
Vicki and Pete Moore of Harlingen.
Sandy and Nolan Perez of Harlingen.
Anne and Bob Shepard of Harlingen.
Shannon and Sam Sparks, III, of Harlingen.
Karen and Brady Taubert of Harlingen.
Jim Trolinger of Harlingen.
Katherine and Tudor Uhlhorn of Harlingen.
Lew Vassberg of Harlingen.
Quita and Troy Wittenbach of Harlingen.