Any number of candidates that did not do well in our voting guide- and their avid supporters- are spreading various silly rumors about the highly effective and well-received voting guides for the primary and the runoffs.
1) No proper vetting went into the decisions of the NTTP.
The 11 people who put in varying amounts of time on the vetting put in many hundreds of hours. Face-to-face interviews were- in general- considered the most ineffective part of vetting (all candidates will tell you what they THINK you want to hear). The committee uses records in office, candidate forums, discussion with colleagues and associates, campaign finance reports, web searches (of RELIABLE sources), etc.
Some vettings were very quick; Ken Paxton and Jodie Laubenberg. Biut that’s ONLY because the entire committee was ALREADY familiar with their records in office; they ‘Walk the walk’- IN OFFICE- and so were ‘slam-dunks. Others to a LONG time; over 100 hours were spent by the committee on House District 67 candidates, for example. Judges were not interviewed directly because the first few individuals indicated a varying opinion on what they could and could not say. Instead, multiple candidate forums were attended, filmed and reviewed by the judicial sub-committee, along with the other approaches previously described.
2) people paid to be on the lists
This one is hilarious. NTTP is a ZERO DOLLAR PAC. Not a single penny in the kitty. All printing and costs were born by individual volunteers. (all under the $200 limit for such). ANYONE had the right and ability to download and print the voter guide as they saw fit. (and they were downloaded over 2,000 times.). This rumor started when some candidates got together with Collin County Conservative Republicans and arranged a special printing of their own of THEIR list. It was hardly ‘bying your way into an endorsement from them.
3) NTTP is really just one or two people.
This comes from the fact that most of our external communication is done by one person (Michael Openshaw). The fact that this one person is the entire organization was definitively disproved in the primary runoff; we was out of town dealing with a family medical crisis, for nearly all of the 6 weeks leading up to the runoff. The core of the North Texas Tea Party is about 15-20 intrepid volunteers and an email following of almost a thousand, a third of which are newly on board as of this primary. We are growing; and adding fresh blood all the time.
Of course, the most ludicrous part of this was the fact the voter guides were the accumulation of the recommendations of 4-5 different groups, none of which have major overlaps in membership. At least three of those groups have been around for a long time and are known for their thorough vettings.
4) This really isn’t the way it should be done.
Really, how should it be done? The way is has been based on what clubs people are members of and who a candidate knows, not what they believe? By people who often have business dealing and pocketbook involvement in the outcome of the specific level of government? Or by taxpayers not looking for a specific favorable consideration, but a general improvement of taxpayer input into governance?
The judicial races are by fare the worst, because nearly all previous voter information on them is provided by campaigns or by those directly related to court activities (lawyers, prosecutors, and law enforcement. the lack of objective review for these critical offices is likely the reason those favored by our guide for judicial office swept the field.
And that effectiveness is why a LOT of people are concerned; it returns the grassroots to a center of political clout that has long been held in a lot fewer- and more ‘discerning’ hands. There are those who the voting guide was unkindly to a ‘good friend’ and therefore resent the process. Also, a few in other tea Party groups who made different decisions on the direction of their groups and- to some degree- resent the public nature of success of our approach. (They themselves are having considerable success in educating people; but that more important success is longer-term and not nearly as public.) So, a number of people are unhappy with our efforts.
Our apologies, but we have come to realize one thing: THIS WORKS TO IMPACT THE POLITICAL DECISION MAKERS. And that is the ONLY way political change will occur. This is not personal; this is about principle and policy.