Larry Joe Doherty's Mitt Romney Connection

Democratic congressional candidate's finance chair held a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate.

The first real evidence of mudslinging thus far in the Democratic primary for Congressional District 10 has popped up, although there’s no evidence that it came from a candidate. Vince Leibowitz of the Capitol Annex blog made a post on Jan. 8 noting that Larry Joe Doherty’s finance chair, Jim McIngvale – aka “Mattress Mac” of Houston TV commercial fame – crossed party lines by hosting a reception in December for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And to boot, the fundraiser was hosted by Austin/San Antonio Republican Congressman Lamar Smith.

Leibowitz also cross-posted the revelation to the widely read Burnt Orange Report blog, which set off a flurry of responses both attacking and defending Doherty. One poster tarred Doherty as “McCaul lite” – Michael McCaul is the three-term Republican incumbent – which brought an online defense of Doherty from former District 10 candidate Lorenzo Sadun, who wrote, "I prefer Grant to Doherty, but the main thing is beating McCaul," and, “On the issues, the two candidates are very close, and are miles apart from McCaul."

Doherty quickly showed he can defend himself, as well. He responded directly to Burnt Orange Report, “My friendship with Jim McIngvale was forged over shared experiences with family health care challenges, not politics. We may be from different parties, but we both continue to be vocal on the need for mental health care reform.

Doherty was far more pointed on Thursday afternoon, when I ran into him at a forum featuring Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Rhett Smith, Rick Noriega, and Ray McMurrey. Noting that McCaul is vulnerable but loaded with cash, Doherty asked, “Do they want a purity test for money? Anybody that naïve doesn’t deserve to be allowed to have political commentary. They ought to go to school and study something."

“We are proud of our support from Jim McIngvale,” Doherty continued. “He’s a long-time, long-term Democratic Party supporter. [McIngvale’s critics] just hadn’t researched the record. He and his wife both have a track record of Democratic Party support.”

Asked if he thought the flap might cost him votes in the primary, Doherty replied, “Not amongst the informed voters.”

Later at the same event, his opponent Grant told me, “I don’t have any objection to people getting money from Republicans at all. I’ve had Republicans who believed in my race, believe in me, and maybe think it’s time for change. But if in my situation, if my finance chair were actively attempting to elect a Republican to the presidency and doing it conjunction with Lamar Smith, I would respectfully ask them to do it separately from my campaign, just because it creates a conflict of interest.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Elections
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Find your nearest polling location and know what to bring with you

Oct. 14, 2019

Here's What's on the Nov. 5 Ballot in Austin
Here's What's on the Nov. 5 Ballot in Austin
A quick guide to the propositions you'll be yea-ing or nay-ing

Sarah Marloff, Oct. 11, 2019

More Election 2008
Craddick's Cash
Craddick's Cash
Texans for Public Justice file ethics complaint about former speaker

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 7, 2009

Small Consolation for Doherty
Small Consolation for Doherty
Last November's CD-10 challenger was the "biggest loser"

Lee Nichols, Jan. 27, 2009

More by Lee Nichols
Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015

Beer Flights
Beer Flights
Celis: welcome home

Aug. 17, 2012

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Elections, Election 2008, Larry Joe Doherty, Jim McIngvale, Mattress Mac, Dan Grant, Michael McCaul

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle