With the Republican primary to replace United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison now five weeks away, “the air war has begun in earnest,” wrote Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News.
On Monday, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, who has been trailing Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz in the polls, released an ad terming his opponents “empty suits.”
Leppert dismisses Cruz as a “government lawyer,” calls Dewhurst “a career politician backed by lobbyists,” and shrugs off Craig James as “a sportscaster.” (In the ad’s only attempt at wit, the fake campaign button representing James includes a picture of a football.)
The ad concludes with Leppert saying President Barack Obama is an empty suit as well:
Leppert’s “toothy smiles and a whimsical soundtrack … make the barbs more like pinpricks than ax wounds,” wrote Robert T. Garrett of the Dallas Morning News.
In a fact-check of the ad and several others, Fikac notes that Leppert incorrectly called himself the only businessman in the race in an earlier spot (James and Dewhurst can both claim that) and that it’s inaccurate to refer to Dewhurst, who amassed his great wealth working in the energy business, as a “career politician.”
Last week, Dewhurst released what WFAA’s Brad Watson called “the first attack ad” of the campaign, a spot focused on Cruz’s involvement in a federal court case against the Chinese tire company Shandong Linglong.
Watson noted that Dewhurst’s characterization of a Cruz as a “trial lawyer,” is not correct, as Cruz only worked as an appellate attorney on the case, but that the asssertion that the Chinese company “stole things from an American citizen” was fair.
Fikac wrote that that despite Leppert’s spots, “Dewhurst’s negative advertising tells the story of this race, showing Cruz as the one the deep-pocketed Dewhurst most fears as he tries to sew up the GOP nomination in the May 29 primary.”
San Antonio Republican consultant Kelton Morgan told Fikac that he thinks Dewhurst can win without a runoff, but that the Lite Guv “sees Cruz as first among the other candidates in the field.”