No one suggested that 2014 would be the year that the party roared back to life. No one argued that the Democrats would put the Republicans in a tough spot come Election Day. But did anyone think that Davis, after all the national exposure and all the money that flowed into her coffers, would be throttled so badly by Republican Greg Abbott in her race to become governor? In the end, she lost by more percentage points than Tony Sanchez did in 2002. And she won 270,499 fewer votes than Bill White did in 2010 in his doomed effort against Perry. It’s not that the Democrats underperformed. It’s that the party that hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994 actually dug itself an even deeper hole!

For Davis, her campaign started poorly—this magazine compared her rollout to the debut of the Bag o’ Glass from Mainway Toys—and things seemed to only go downhill from there. Infighting! Staff shake-ups! Tension with the press! Missteps over her own biography! And to add insult to injury, after the dust had settled, the state Senate seat she gave up to run against Abbott was claimed by a Republican. Davis may be out of politics for now, but she didn’t walk away empty-handed: she is our Bum Steer of the Year. 

FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT EVERYTHING IS INDEED BIGGER IN TEXAS
An Austin woman raised over $1,800 on Kickstarter to create, as she explained in her campaign statement, “a huge vagina (vulva) statue about the size of a person (six feet tall) in support of Texas Women. It will be to scale.” 

THEY HAD ’EM ALL LINED OUT AT THE POLLS
Belinda Solis and Veronica Saldivar each pleaded guilty to one count of election fraud on charges of vote-buying in the elections for the Donna ISD school board and a Hidalgo County commissioner’s seat. They were arrested after a campaign worker admitted to FBI agents that he supplied the women with cocaine in exchange for their votes. 

Dennis Bonnen

HOW ABOUT AN INTERPRETER WHO COULD DO DUMBASS?
Referring to educating children displaced by Hurricane Katrina during a hearing on Texas education, state representative Dennis Bonnen, a Republican from Angleton, said, “We had to have a teacher who could do coonass in English.”

PETA chicken monument

WHO WANTS TO FRICASSEE THAT BY THE ROADSIDE?
PETA asked the Texas Department of Transportation for permission to erect a ten-foot-high granite monument at a highway intersection in Bryan in memory of the chickens that died there in a tractor-trailer rollover accident.

KIDS, LET THAT BE AN EXPENSIVE, HEARTBREAKING LESSON TO YOU
Three UT engineering students traveled to Virginia to see a $1 million experimental satellite they’d worked on for months launched into orbit on a rocket ferrying supplies to the International Space Station. The students had to be rushed to safety when the unmanned flight, outsourced to a private company by NASA, ended in a massive explosion seconds after liftoff. 

“YEAH, BABY, THAT’S C AS IN ‘COBRA’ ”
Governor Rick Perry earned a fashion grade of C as Women’s Wear Daily’s Man of the Week. 

HIS RANK DECEPTION MADE HIM THINK HE COULD DECLARE MARITAL LAW
Michael Douglas McDowell, of Fort Worth, pleaded guilty to charges of impersonating a public servant and bigamy. For more than a decade, Powell passed himself off as an Army intelligence officer, though he had never served in the military. Powell even wore a brigadier general’s uniform at his 2011 wedding, which was held while he was married to another woman.
 
IN HER DEFENSE, SHE LIKES STRAPPING YOUNG MEN
State licensing authorities said they would investigate Heart 2 Heart Montessori Academy, a day care in Willow Park, after the owner was accused of having duct-taped a boy to his nap mat after he refused to settle down.

Jo Lynn Haussmann, Keller ISD

 
AND A CRETIN ON THE SCHOOL BOARD!!!!!
In response to the election of Shahid Shafi to the Southlake City Council, Keller ISD school board member Jo Lynn Haussmann posted on Facebook, “SOUTH LAKE—do you realize because SO FEW voters took the time and responsibility to VOTE in the municipal elections YOU NOW HAVE A ‘MUSLIM’ on the City Council!!! What A SHAME!!!!”
 
 

Stiffs Darrin-Klimek

TALK ABOUT GETTING STIFFED
A Fort Worth landlord called police when he discovered that the owners of Johnson Family Mortuary, the tenants he had ordered to vacate the premises two weeks earlier, had left eight decomposing corpses behind.

HE THOUGHT GOOD FECES MADE GOOD NEIGHBORS
Harris County constables investigated complaints from homeowners who found human excrement on their driveways on multiple occasions. Surveillance video showed that the culprit was a middle-aged man who struck in the middle of the night.
 
HE COULDN’T BE BOTHERED TO GO TO THE ALAMO BOWL
Daniel Athens was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for urinating on the Alamo.

Illustration-by-Ross-MacDonald

“ATTENTION, ALL UNITS: SUSPECT EASTBOUND, WEARINGNOTHING BUT A SMILE”
As Tyler police tried to arrest Daniel Cobb on an aggravated-robbery warrant, he fled on foot and inexplicably stripped off all his clothes. Cobb eluded officers and was later spotted (naked) getting into a car, which left the scene.
 
SAVE MONEY. LIVE BETTER, ON THE RUN
Sustained by shoplifted food and drink, a runaway fourteen-year-old boy lived in a Corsicana Walmart for two days before anyone noticed.
 
ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE INAUGURAL TEXAS MONTHLY BUM STEER “DUMB VOYEUR” AWARDS!

BS_george-Apreza

WOULD YOU SAY YOU LOOK GUILTIER IN CLIP A or CLIP B, OR ABOUT THE SAME?
George Apreza was arrested and charged with improper photography when a co-worker found a cellphone that was recording the restroom activity of the Tomball optical shop where they worked. Police found video footage on the phone showing Apreza setting up and testing the camera. 

Andrew-Crawford-Boden

IT WOULD BE SHOCKING IF THE CHARGES DIDN’T STICK
Andrew Crawford Boden, of Irving, was arrested for improper photography after a store employee became suspicious about a restroom electrical outlet she noticed sliding down the wall. Police discovered that it was a stick-on spy camera and that it contained images of Boden planting it.  

LIKE THE FACT THAT HE WAS DRIVING IN SCUBA GEAR
Andy Lee House, of Lufkin, pleaded guilty to fraud after he admitted running his ultra-rare Bugatti off the road and into a waterway to collect a $2.2 million insurance policy. House initially claimed it was an accident, but a bystander’s video, which went viral, helped uncover flaws in his story.

HE WANTED TO PROVE HE COULD MEASURE UP TO THE OTHER CANDIDATES
A Dallas man was cited for obscene display after an employee at Texas Workforce Solutions notified authorities that he had sent them a photo of his penis along with his résumé. 

“DROP THE KNIFE, MA’AM—AND THE STICK”
Charmelle Henry was arrested after she brandished a knife at a Midland food stand and threatened to “stab in cold blood” the employees if they refused to give her a corndog.  

IT WAS A VINTAGE PENAL NOIR WITH AN ARRESTING BOUQUET
Saying she felt responsible for her boyfriend’s arrest earlier that day, Alicia Walicke brazenly stole a bottle of wine from a Cedar Park convenience store. She then sat out front drinking it so that the police would arrest her and she could go to jail too. 

Andrew-Crawford-Boden

SHE SAID “VEILED” ATTEMPT
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Houston, called Republican threats to sue the president over Obamacare a “veiled attempt at impeachment,” moralizing that the Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives during George W. Bush’s presidency had never stooped so low. Soon after, an online news source cited a 2008 resolution that Jackson had co-sponsored calling for Bush’s impeachment.

EXCEPT FOR THAT, HE DID A FIRST-CLASS JOB
Charles Allen Tollett, of Borger, was sentenced to two years probation for throwing away hundreds of pieces of mail that he was supposed to deliver on his postal route in Dumas.  

THE “REMOVE HUSK BEFORE SNORTING” LABEL WAS A TIP-OFF
A 46-year-old El Salvadoran man was arrested at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport after customs officers discovered that two hundred tamales in his luggage were stuffed with cocaine. 

FOR A LITTLE EXTRA, YOU CAN BE THERE AT LIFT-ARF
Expanding their offerings beyond launching cremated human remains into orbit, Houston-based Celestis announced a similar service for cremated pets, with prices starting at $995.

THEY’D LIKE TO ASK ABOUT ANY SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET
Austin police announced that they were interested in speaking with an unknown Goodwill patron who donated a human skull to one of the organization’s Austin stores.

LIKE IT OR NOT, SHE’S GOT GAME
Kendall Jones, of Cleburne, sparked widespread outrage when she posted photos from a hunting trip to Africa on Facebook. The pictures showed the nineteen-year-old beaming as she sat next to or on top of the many exotic wild animals she killed, including a lion, a rhino, and an elephant. Responding to the torrent of criticism, Jones suggested that some of the animals had only been tranquilized. 

HE WAS WAY TOO BRIGHT FOR HIS OWN GOOD
The pilot of an Austin police helicopter was momentarily blinded by someone pointing a laser at the aircraft from the ground. Tracking the beam from the air, the pilot guided police to a nearby home, where they arrested Gabriel Ruedas Jr., finding a laser pointer in the pocket of his sweatshirt. 

JUST WAIT TILL I. B. PIMPIN GETS CALLED UP TO THE BIG LEAGUES
Even though Astros outfielder L. J. Hoes spent much of the season in the minors or on the bench, Fanbuild.com sold out of its first two printings of an Astros-themed T-shirt emblazoned with “Houston Loves Hoes.”

CharlesBrandon_

NO JURY WOULD INFERNO OFFENSE WAS INTENDED
Charles Brandon admitted that he claimed to be a fire marshal to gain free entry to a Grapevine nightclub. He was arrested when the actual fire marshal happened to be at the bar. 
 

BS_LouieGohmert

HE’S OBSESSIVE ABOUT STAYING ON MASSAGE
Congressman Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Tyler, said he opposed gays in the military based on the example of the ancient Greeks, whose gay soldiers, he said, would massage one another before battle. Gohmert said that today “it’s a different kind of war, and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day, ready to go in the big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long.” 

“YOU GOT NO CLASS! YOU GOT NO SENSE! NEXT TIME DESTROY THE EVIDENCE!”
San Marcos school board trustee Paul Mayhew demanded to see the tryout score sheets when his daughter failed to make the varsity cheerleading squad. School officials claimed that they had been taken to a field in Seguin and burned, but Mayhew found them more or less intact in a garbage pile. They did indeed show that his daughter should have earned a spot on the team. 

Robert Wallace

ACTUALLY, HE WAS HOPING FOR STRIPPER LAYAWAY
Robert Wallace sued Nomi Mims, a dancer he’d met at a Houston gentlemen’s club, because Mims refused to return the Harry Potter DVDs, cash, and laptop he claimed he loaned her while they were dating. In a TV interview, Mims insisted the relationship was strictly professional and said, “There’s no such thing as stripper refunds.”  

SORRY, KIDS, MR. LOOKADOO HAD TO CANCEL—HE HAD A LOT COME UP
Justin Lookadoo, a youth motivational speaker from McKinney, was arrested for public intoxication in Indiana on his way to an engagement at a middle school camp. Police found him passed out in his car, smelling strongly of alcohol, with vomit on the seat next to him.

SOON ENOUGH HE HAD A BUNK ALL TO HIMSELF
Zakry Ernest Zapata was arrested for public intoxication after he went door-to-door in a Bryan neighborhood, demanding that alarmed residents let him sleep inside their homes.  

Charles Barkely

TO: CHARLES BARKLEY
FROM: TEXAS MONTHLY
RE: POT AND KETTLE
During the Spurs’ run through the NBA playoffs, commentator Charles Barkley repeatedly and gratuitously made jokes about San Antonio women and their weight. “There’s some big ol’ women down there,” he said. “That’s a gold mine for Weight Watchers.”  

THEY BRIEFLY CONSIDERED THE NAME “NITS ’N SIPS”
Jessica Mester and Michelle Sunshine, of Austin, opened Lousted, a salon where parents can drink wine while their children’s lice are removed.  

YOU: DISCREET, WILLING TO KILL FOR CASH. ME: STUPID
After Steve Gordon, of Allen, contacted a “hit man” on Craigslist and paid him $25,000 to kill his wife, the man failed to act, so Gordon threatened to go to the police; the man then threatened to kill him. Frightened, Gordon did go to the police, and he was convicted of solicitation of murder. 

LABELING IT “TUBE STEAK” DIDN’T FOOL ANYONE
A lawsuit against the manager of MT Supermarket, in Austin, alleged the defendant had packaged beef penis for sale.  

I’M JUSHT TRYNA TEE OFF, OFFISHER
Damian Mandola, a founder of Carrabba’s, was arrested by Hays County authorities for breaking into a Driftwood winery and stealing a bottle of wine, which was allegedly found shortly thereafter in his getaway vehicle, a golf cart. 

 

Maya Angelou
UNFORTUNATELY RAY CHARLES WAS ALSO UNAVAILABLE

Lake Conroe Drone

WITH A PRICE TAG LIKE THAT, IT WAS BOUND TO MAKE A SPLASH
The Montgomery County sheriff’s office reported that its $250,000 drone crashed and sank in Lake Conroe during a training exercise.  

WHAT DO PEOPLE HAVE AGAINST L.J.?
Houston GOP political consultant Allen Blakemore said a political action committee created by his firm’s comptroller would be shutdown because of negative PR generated by its name, Boats ’N Hoes. 
 

ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, HOW GOOD WAS THAT IDEA?
On his Facebook page, U.S. senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Houston, conducted a “quick poll” meant to highlight dissatisfaction with Obamacare, but the comments suggested overwhelming support for the measure.   

AS IF LOSING 11 GAMES TO THE ASTROS WEREN’T REASON ENOUGH
Nearing the end of his disastrous eighth full season with the Texas Rangers, manager Ron Washington abruptly resigned, stating that it was “best for me and my family.” Less than two weeks later, he revealed at a press conference that he’d resigned because he had been unfaithful to his wife. 

WITH A $2 OFF COUPON, IT COULD’VE BEEN A STEAL
A man paid for a $4.69 fried catfish dinner at Ronnie’s Catfish & More, in Dallas, then pulled out a gun and demanded that the cashier hand over the money in the register. The employee refused, instead offering the robber the contents of the tip jar, about $3. He took it, waited until his order was ready, and left just before police arrived.  
 

Tony Romo Lovesac

THANKS, WE’LL TAKE A COMPLETE PASS
Candice Romo, the wife of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, announced that she was donating Romo’s premarriage Lovesac beanbag to a charity garage sale. “Whoever gets that probably needs to wash it really good,” she said. “Who knows what’s living in there.” 

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS NOW
A San Antonio man lost several fingers while attempting to impress friends by putting a penny on a railroad track beneath a moving train. 

TWO, FOUR, SIX, EIGHT! WE WANT TO TELECOMMUNICATE!
Early in the football season, Baylor officials received complaints that parts of McLane Stadium’s state-of-the-art public Wi-Fi network were effectively down throughout the games. It turned out that signals in the freshman section were blocked whenever students there stood on their seats, which they did for most of the game.

CALL IT DIVINE WRITE
On a San Antonio religious talk show, former U.S. House majority leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land, attributed the woes of the federal government to the fact that “we stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution.” 

MIND IF I CUT IN?
San Antonio man Antonio Flores Narcisso, angry at his roommate for making too much noise while having a threesome, was accused of breaking down the door to the man’s room and stabbing him in front of his female companions. 

Timeshia Brown Congratulations

IT APPEARED IN THE “NOT WANTED” ADS
In an East Texas paper Timeshia Brown published a note of congratulations to her husband and his mistress on the upcoming birth of their child.  

IF THAT WAS AN APOLOGY, IT WAS HALF-FARTED 
Lago Vista police detective Lawrence Michael Jonap was arrested and charged with assault. His victim, a police department communications operator, said that Jonap sneaked up behind him and kicked him in the back. The next day Jonap shook the man’s chair, asked him, “How’s your back?” and then passed gas in his face.  

Jennifer Lawrence-Kitty Jay

SHE’S JUST KEEPING IT UNREAL
For a story on extreme plastic surgery, ABC News profiled a thirty-year-old Houston woman named Kitty Jay who had undergone $25,000 worth of procedures intended to help her look like actress Jennifer Lawrence. 

SOMEONE SEED A CHANCE TO GIG ’EM
As a prank, Texas A&M fans planted maroon bluebonnets, a rare variant, on the UT-Austin campus. 

 

Lawrence Jonap

IF THAT WAS AN APOLOGY, IT WAS HALF-FARTED
Lago Vista police detective Lawrence Michael Jonap was arrested and charged with assault. His victim, a police department communications operator, said that Jonap sneaked up behind him and kicked him in the back. The next day Jonap shook the man’s chair, asked him, “How’s your back?” and then passed gas in his face.

Ted Cruz Coloring Book

FROM REALLY BIG COLORING BOOKS’ “TELL THE TRUTH—TELL IT OFTEN—TELL THE CHILDREN” SERIES.

SOONER OR LATER HE WOULD’VE BLOWN A CASKET
Omar Alejandro Gutierrez was accused of stealing a hearse parked outside a San Antonio church during a funeral. Hours later he was arrested more than one hundred miles away, near Junction, after a restaurant employee there called to report a customer who’d walked out on his check and drove off in a hearse. 

YOU ARE FREE TO MOVE HAPHAZARDLY ABOUT THE COUNTRY
A Southwest Airlines flight narrowly avoided skidding off the end of a runway at the airport in Hollister, Missouri, because the pilots mistakenly assumed they were landing at the airport in nearby Branson, the plane’s intended destination. 

HE OPENED HIS MOUTH AND THEY KNEW SOMETHING WAS ARAMIS
John David Conwill, of Cat Spring, was stopped by Fayette County sheriff’s officers on suspicion of involvement in a no-injury hit-and-run accident in Austin. Their report said they had found open containers of alcohol in the vehicle along with empty bottles of cologne, which they said Conwill drank to mask the alcohol on his breath.  

FOR YOU, SIR: MEET BALL PIZZA
A customer entered a Papa Murphy’s in Georgetown just in time to see Austin Michael Symonds rubbing his testicles on the customer’s carryout pizza. Symonds was fired, arrested, and charged with tampering with a consumer product.  

Illo Derek Poe

BE ADVISED, SUSPECT IS ARMED AND MAY BRUISE EASILY 
Derek Poe’s advertising strategy to promote the grand opening of his gun shop in Beaumont misfired when his promotional worker was cited for soliciting in a roadway. Police responded to calls from a number of confused and frightened drivers reporting a man standing at a busy intersection carrying an assault rifle and wearing a giant banana suit.  

YOU KNOW, JUST TO SAY HOWDY
The South Korean military arrested a 29-year-old Texas man on the banks of a river in a restricted zone near the border. The man told guards he had hoped to swim to North Korea to meet leader Kim Jong Un.  

llo Felicia Smith

SHE WAS GONE BEFORE HE GOT TO BANG HER ERASERS
In front of her entire class, Aldine ISD teacher Felicia Smith performed a clothed but highly suggestive dance for a male student celebrating his fifteenth birthday. Smith was fired after pleading guilty to having an improper relationship with a student.  

For the first time in Bum Steers history, we asked readers on social media to come up with some good headlines for two items. Here are the winners, who have earned their place in the Bum Steer pantheon.  

ILLINOIS HAS A LEG UP ON US (Joyce Sáenz Harris, of Dallas)
The San Jacinto Museum of History failed in a public bid to display Santa Anna’s wooden leg, which is a part of the Illinois State Military Museum’s collection. The Texas museum has long coveted the item, though Santa Anna got the prosthetic after losing his leg while fighting against the French in Mexico, two years after his defeat at San Jacinto. 

WE PREFER OUR CATFISH UNBATTERED (Ryan Latham, of Midland)
Lufkin police responded to a domestic dispute in which a man claimed that his sister had slapped his wife in the face with a catfish.          

Randy Weber

HE WOULD’VE WRITTEN MORE, BUT HE RAN OUT OF CHARACTER
Congressman Randy Weber, a Republican from Pearland, tweeted from the floor of the House of Representatives before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, igniting a Twitterstorm of withering replies taking him to task for his lack of good spelling, grammar, and decorum.  

ARE THEY EVEN CABLE TO CONDUCTOR OWN INVESTIGATION? 
The Texas Department of Transportation was forced to postpone the opening of a 7.6-mile section of Texas Highway 195 in Williamson County when officials discovered that the copper wiring in the roadway’s lighting had been stolen. 

CHANGING OIL ALL DAY MADE HIM PRETTY VISCOUS
A disgruntled former employee of Pearland’s Auto Max repair shop placed service-reminder stickers on the windshields of several customers that read, “Please never come again. We enjoyed f—ing you in the a—.”  

IT’S A NYET LOSS, BUT VODKA GONNA DO?
Oasis Beverages, a Russian firm, announced that it was buying the company that owns Lone Star Beer.  

DON’T BLAME HIM—HIS LIBIDO’S ASPHALT
David Michael Gray was arrested and charged with public lewdness after a Harris County woman told police that she looked out her window and saw him “humping and thrusting” on her driveway.  

Steve Stockman

HE WAS DOING THE PEOPLE’S NONE-OF-YOUR-DAMN-BUSINESS 
While campaigning for the U.S. Senate, Congressman Steve Stockman, a Republican from Houston, went incommunicado for more than ten days, missing seventeen floor votes in the process. Upon resurfacing, Stockman said that he’d been on an official trip for most of the “dark period” but offered no explanation for why his staff rebuffed all press inquiries as to where he was. 

JJ Watt

PRESENTING THE J.J. WATT BUM STEERS CATALOG
After Watt signed a $100 million contract with the Houston Texans, he told a reporter that he had Googled “What do rich people buy?” Never fear, J.J. We are here to help you spend to your heart’s content.

JJWatt Infograph

LEAVING HIS MOTHER TO ASK, “WHAT’S THE DILL?”
A kindergarten student walked out of J. J. Pickle Elementary School, in Austin, and went home to his family’s apartment. The apartment manager called his mother, and she alerted school officials, who, until her call, had not realized the boy was missing.  

 

Rex Tillerson

NOT IN MY ENORMOUS AND EXQUISITELY TENDED BACKYARD
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson joined a lawsuit to stop the construction of a proposed water tower intended to fill tanker trucks hauling water to fracking operations near his Bartonville home. Tillerson and his co-plaintiffs claimed that the tower would lead to excessive noise and traffic.  

Sleep Pod

CAN ALSO BE USED AS SOMEPLACE-WHERE-YOUR-ANNOYING-ROOMMATE-ISN’T PODS
Officials at Texas A&M–Corpus Christi announced that the university was the first in the U.S. to purchase and install “sleep pod” enclosures, which students can reserve for naps of up to an hour.   

Rick Perry-Rosemary Lehmberg

YOU EITHER LOVE IT OR THINK IT’S BULLSHIRT 

Dan Patrick Tweet

#OOPS
Dan Patrick, the Republican who was running for lieutenant governor at the time, quickly deleted his errant tweet complaining about a federal judge’s ruling overturning Texas’s same-sex marriage ban.