If all you read about the GOP primary race for Texas House District 97 was the slick, colorful flyers clogging mailboxes in southwest Fort Worth, you'd think a "dishonest," conniving Washington lobbyist who floats around by parachute was running against an Obamacare-loving BFF of lefty U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson.Both exaggerated insinuations have little to do with issues that the Legislature will confront when it convenes in Austin next year or with realistic proposals that either Susan Todd or Craig Goldman might offer for addressing the state's very real problems.That race isn't even the nastiest of the primaries in north Texas heading into Election Day on May 29, but it's emblematic of the distortions and misrepresentations that seem to have become the norm this political season.If all you knew about the Democratic primary race for a new seat in the U.S. House, District 33, you'd think state Rep. Marc Veasey -- who worked for Martin Frost when Frost represented southeast Fort Worth in Congress -- was a not-so-closeted Republican who shills for big business instead of serving his constituents.Dallas lawyer Domingo Garcia called Veasey "the establishment's paid-for errand boy," a racially loaded slap, considering that Veasey is African-American. District 33 spans Tarrant and Dallas counties, encompassing significant racial and ethnic minority populations, with 39 percent of the Hispanics eligible to vote, and 25 percent of the blacks of voting age.Veasey called on Garcia to denounce, instead of tout, an endorsement by the North Dallas Gazette that complains about the failings and "empty promises" of African-American public officials elected from Dallas County. The endorsement says Veasey isn't "ideal" but offers no explanation why. He was elected to the state House from Tarrant County, not Dallas, so the effort to saddle him with the faults of other politicians doesn't look right.Veasey has avoided throwing mud. But former Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks, another African-American seeking the Democratic nomination, started attacking him late in the campaign, with sinister references to his wife's communications work for companies such as Chesapeake Energy. A Hicks flyer clumsily claims Veasey "voted in the Republican Primary against President Bill Clinton." Well, that's preposterous: Clinton didn't run in the Republican primary; he's a Democrat.Eight other people are running on the Democratic side in District 33, and some actually have strong credentials and want to talk issues.Maybe useful debate will come during a runoff or even before the general election. Voters can only hope. Better yet, they should demand it.There are still a few days left to tell Reps. Todd Smith and Kelly Hancock to stop pretending the other one is a creep when they both would bring something valuable to Austin -- just different -- if eventually elected to the Texas Senate in District 9.There's time to reject Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz in the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate for general ugliness that doesn't help voters decide.Dewhurst's campaign says "Trial lawyer Ted Cruz is paid by a Chinese conglomerate, killing American jobs."Cruz's literature counters that Dewhurst is "a moderate, tax-and-spend politician" who pushed a wage tax that would have killed 40,000 Texas jobs.Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has a better focus in that Senate race, though his TV ad concludes with the obligatory "beat Obama" rhetoric.Too many office-seekers are following a scorch-the-opponent or tangential attack-Obama strategy when voters need an understanding of how a particular candidate can represent his or her constituents' interests in an elected arena. Candidates who can't make their case with civility and honesty probably can't serve with distinction.