Stickland sets off feeding frenzy by posting opposing voter’s address

02/04/2014 6:05 PM

02/04/2014 6:06 PM

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland is sure that Republican foes and Democrats are teaming up to oust him.

After another of the Bedford Republican’s send-before-you-think Facebook posts, he might be right.

Stickland, at 30 the baby-faced darling of Texas’ Ron Paul Republicans, posted both a photo and the street name of a Hurst home with signs for his Republican opponent Andy Cargile, Democratic standard-bearer Wendy Davis and also Girl Scout cookies.

“Just found this ‘gem,’ ” Stickland snarked.

By midday Wednesday, homeowner and Democratic Party precinct Chairman Jeff Childers retorted that for Stickland to single out his address “borders on political intimidation.”

By then, Stickland’s Facebook followers were calling Childers “baby killer,” joking about robbing the house and sneering at Girl Scout cookies.

Stickland said his point was that Cargile is appealing for Democratic voters in what Stickland called “one of the ugliest races I’ve ever seen.”

(Stickland has spent all of two years in politics. He was invited to run by a Tea Party leader after he confronted a congressman at a public meeting.)

Stickland said he saw no problem publishing an opposing voter’s address: “It doesn’t seem like it should be a problem telling everybody where they stand.”

Stickland has since removed the street name, but Facebook users can still find it.

Cargile hadn’t seen the Facebook post but called it “kind of childish.”

As a 10-year Trinity High School principal and five-year Hurst-Euless-Bedford school trustee elected in nonpartisan campaigns, Cargile said, “I have a lot of supporters who put out signs.”

Democrat Tina Penney of Bedford must face the GOP primary winner in November for the House District 92 seat.

As Childers’ friends hammered Stickland’s Facebook page with bullying complaints — most quickly deleted — Penney agreed with Stickland that some Democrats are actively campaigning for Cargile.

But she said, “No matter what party you are, it’s really bad form to ever make fun of a voter.”

Stickland, known for his candor, had already been criticized in a Cargile mailer for some too-candid and expletive-peppered Facebook complaints in 2011 about the H-E-B schools.

Several Texas political science professors replied by email that Stickland’s Facebook post about the signs was fair but giving the location wasn’t.

“In this hyperpartisan era,” wrote SMU professor Cal Jillson, “it is probably not a good idea to identify a target for your stupidest and most aggressive supporter … Better to think first.”

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About Bud Kennedy

Bud Kennedy

@budkennedy

Bud Kennedy is a homegrown Fort Worth guy who started out covering high school football here when he was 16. He went away to the Fort Worth Press and newspapers in Austin and Dallas, then came home in 1981.

Since 1987, he's written more than 1,000 weekly dining columns and more than 3,000 news and politics columns. If you don't like what he says about politics, read him on barbecue.

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