Texas politics has come up short in every way this year, including humor.
In a campaign long on outrage and short on laughs, the state that gave the nation “Pappy” O’Daniel and Kinky Friedman has been woefully short of fresh punch lines, so writers for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will be severely tested for the “ Democalypse 2014: South By South Mess” episodes this week.
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Thank goodness for Jim Hogan and Emily “Spicy Brown” Sanchez.
By default, they are the comedy relief on next week’s ballot.
Hogan, a Johnson County farmer and insurance agent, may be Texas’ only politician to keep his promises.
If nominated by Democrats for agriculture commissioner, he swore, he would never campaign, advertise, raise money or bother us in any way.
So far, he is a tremendous success.
And if he wins against Stephenville Republican Sid Miller?
“I’ll pick good people to hire,” Hogan said by phone Friday as he made his rounds calling on clients.
“I sure won’t give out any jobs to somebody who gave me money, ’cause nobody’s given me none.”
Hogan’s homespun talk has impressed and amused big-city reporters.
They’ve visited Cleburne to meet him at his unofficial headquarters, the wooden bench on South Anglin Street in front of the tiny 65-year-old Burger Bar.
“Every judge, lawyer or politician in town goes there,” Hogan said.
“People say: ‘Hogan, everybody knows you now. You’re on the Internet.’ I just want people to know I’m no country bumpkin.”
That’s the kind of line that inspired a Twitter page tribute to “Internet Jim Hogan.”
He may be the first candidate ever to interrupt an Austin TV interview with the line “You ever see a goat eat a watermelon?”
Hogan has wound up as sort of a Cleburne host, bringing visitors to try the burger grill’s new Game Changer, winner of a Guy Fieri burger cookoff.
He said: “I figure, hey — ain’t no reason to be so serious about all this. Let’s have some fun.”
Hogan and Miller never debated, although Hogan said he knows Miller from “buyin’ calves” at Beyers Sale Barn in Stephenville.
“Somebody said, ‘You ought to go to Stephenville — they don’t like him.’ Well, that’s his hometown. If they don’t like him, I don’t need to go down there just to rub it in.”
Hogan, 63, told an Austin TV crew he plans to spend election night cooking a stew.
“Everybody likes my stew,” he said.
“If a miracle happens and I win, I’d better have some made.”
Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Emily Sanchez, 37, of Del Rio is listed by her poetry slam nickname, “Spicy Brown.” (The ballot misspells it as one word.)
When Sen. John Cornyn and Dallas challenger David Alameel were debating Friday in Dallas, she was reading at the Texas Grand Slam poetry festival at the Grand Stafford Theater in Bryan.
Sanchez, co-founder of Occupy Laredo, is a physical therapy assistant by day, bilingual poet by night.
In her profile for the festival, she wrote; “I took the name Spicy Brown because that is how I feel when I slam. I feel Spicy. … There is a saying that goes, chiquita pero picosa.” (Small but spicy.)
Her name might not sound serious. But she is.
Her poems, she wrote, “focus on social disparity, the need for political change and feminism.”
On being excluded from the debate, she wrote in a statement Friday: “This isn’t an episode of Mad Men and it’s not the 1950s. Television stations shouldn’t be allowing male candidates to debate and forcing the female and Latina candidates to stay home and watch on TV. It’s discriminatory and it’s unacceptable.”
In a poll last week, 5 percent of voters skipped past Cornyn and Alameel for Spicy Brown.