Tablet Opinion

Bud Kennedy: GOP’s new ‘green card’ deals from a different deck

For almost 20 years, some local Republicans have trusted a little green card.

Arlington activists Kathy and Stuart Lane faithfully mail voters a pocket-sized list of candidates they deem truest to “family values.”

But this year there’s a different green card.

Grapevine-based mailed voters a near-identical green card but listing different names — some now disclaiming it.

The Republican Party, for example.

Spokesmen for both the state party and the Austin-based Empower Texans PAC said Thursday that their groups should not have been listed as sponsors for the newer green card, a list of so-called straw poll winners.

The card seems to mimic the Lanes’ successful DFW Conservative Voters PAC card. It’s the same size, the same format and printed on similar green card stock.

State Rep. Phil King of Weatherford donated $10,000 to help the Lanes pay postage.

“The Lanes’ green card is so familiar,” King said.

“Before I ever knew the people, I knew about the green card. I just trust nobody would intentionally come along and copy it.”

By email, Stuart Lane wrote that he is “puzzled” why the new card is so similar.

“Their card is confusing to voters,” Lane wrote.

The card recommends most of the same statewide candidates, but backs newcomers over experienced judges in county court and peace justice court races.

The list came from a loosely organized vote on Feb. 1 at the Candidate Fair, a trade-show-like event in Hurst. Bedford Republican Curtis McCaffity and his Tarrant Republican Club, originally a Ron Paul activist group, sold candidates tables for $700 and promised to promote the poll.

When results were first announced, organizers said 1,100 voted. Since then, the count has mysteriously climbed to 2,249.

The state Republican Party and Empower Texans simply bought display tables, along with the Fort Worth-based Tarrant County 912 Action PAC, also listed on the card.

Nobody asked permission to list the 912 PAC, said treasurer David Lambertsen: “The answer would have been no.”

Republican Party spokesman Spencer Yeldell wrote by email from Austin: “Our name should not have been listed.”

Empower Texans’ Tony McDonald wrote: “Unfortunately, the card is not accurate … I’m not sure why we were listed.”

Co-organizer Robert Bueker of Denton County said the card listed groups that bought tables. He declined other comment.

County party Chair Jennifer Hall of Fort Worth said she has heard “quite a few complaints” about the fair and about the straw poll allowing repeated or out-of-district voting.

“I think we ought to talk about doing our own fair,” she said.

Former county Chair Steve Hollern of Fort Worth wrote precinct chairs a letter criticizing the fair and the cost.

“They’re collecting all this money, and who knows where it goes?” he said.

Hollern called the card “misleading” and an example of the “unraveling of the conservative coalition.”

“I’ve seen things this year I never expected,” he said. “Tea Party groups feuding with Baptists, Christians who can’t get along with Catholics — the party has to have mainstream conservatives. We can’t all be radical right.”

Watch your cards.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram