A group of Republican House members has injected themselves into Republican primary races in an effort to defeat their own colleagues. In my book, this is bottom-of-the-barrel behavior, but these folks are the type to do it. Those inclined toward eating their own young are Leo Berman, Wayne Christian, Betty Brown, Phil King, and Kelly Hancock. Their prime target is Chuck Hopson, and, according to the Hopson camp, they are being assisted in their efforts by former state senator Drew Nixon, who is best known for being busted for soliciting prostitution on the night before his swearing in, and Todd Gallaher, the former Bob Duell staffer who … well, I’ll yield to the Morning News for an introduction: A veteran Capitol staffer resigned Monday [3/11/08] over allegations he impersonated both a state representative [Juan Garcia] and a newspaper reporter in the last month – first to sway a state primary race, then to glean information on an ethics complaint against his boss. Todd Gallaher had been on leave from Republican state Sen. Bob Deuell’s office since last month, when he used an e-mail address that looked like it belonged to a Democratic lawmaker to send out embarrassing photos of a South Texas sheriff up for re-election. As recently as Thursday night, however, he was back in Dr. Deuell’s Capitol office, apparently identifying himself as a Dallas Morning News reporter in a phone call with a California ethics watchdog. Hopson has the endorsement of Perry, Hutchison, Cornyn, Dewhurst, Staples, Eltife, Joe Barton, and, according to his camp, 80% of the House Rs. King and Hancock are also working to defeat Vicki Truitt, and Betty Brown weighed in against Todd Smith. (A caller who was involved in the battle over the local option gasoline tax said that Truitt and/or Carona had threatened to try to defeat members in North Texas who voted against the local option gasoline tax. I have not found any confirming evidence either of the threat or of either member carrying through with the threat, and the Truitt campaign vehemently denied the accusation.) This is all about (1) ideological purity and (2) speaker politics and the continuing efforts of the Craddickite core to destablize Straus.
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