The GOP Friends of Laura Pressley

Council candidate gets Republican backing

Laura Pressley: Friends in Republican places, it seems
Laura Pressley: Friends in Republican places, it seems (Photo by Jana Birchum)

In her hunt to displace Council Member Mike Martinez, challenger Laura Pressley has been besieged by claims that she is simply a stealth Republican. Probably doesn't help her case when her campaign sends out a letter to voters entitled Republicans for Laura Pressley.

Now let's remember, the city elections are proudly non-partisan, and that has never stopped a candidate from proudly hunting down the endorsement of every Democratic club in town. But it gets interesting when you have a candidate actively courting the enviro and neighborhood progressive vote getting GOP plaudits.

Sent out on April 30, the letter praises Pressley as an alternative to incumbent Mike Martinez, noting that "if ever we Republicans have had an opportunity to elect an outstanding candidate to the Austin City Council, and 'make the difference,' now is the time." The John Hancocks at the bottom includes a bunch of familiar names including:

– Former Republican Party of Texas policy director Royal Masset

– Perenial rail opponent Jim Skaggs

Lobbyist and former assistant to then-Attorney General John Cornyn John Greytok

– Republican Club of Austin board member Roger Borgelt

– Austin Republican Women past president Gretchen Munday

– And former council member Bob Larson

– And a real blast from the past, DeWayne Naumann, a regular GOP also-ran from the 1990s about whom we once wrote that he was part of a cadre of politicos "approaching the Jennifer Gale standard in the frequency and irrelevancy of their perennial candidacies."

OK, so when we say "familiar" then you may have to have been hanging around city Hall in 1992, but you get the point.

You have to have a sort of admiration for Pressley: In her early outings, she seemed like a one-note candidate (that note was "fluoride, fluoride, fluoride.") She got a lot smarter along the way, expanding her platform: So much so that she has boasted on our forums about being a non-partisan success story. Her gentle obfuscation of those early failings are on a par with the genius of convincing environmentalists that lugging bottled water 2,000 miles from Oregon to Texas is an eco-friendly business model. But the biggie is that she served on the steering committee for Texans for Accountable Government aka TAG aka the Ron Paul wing of the GOP.

Pressley has tried to sell her Pauline tendencies by saying that she likes his anti-war stance. Unfortunately, she then gets schooled by Martinez over Paul's "anti-woman, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-minority" stances on everything else.

TAG has been working Pressley's corner hard, including sign campaigns of highly questionable legality (the same signs have been used against both Martinez and Mayor Lee Leffingwell, and certain other progressive-vote-courting candidacies have been piggybacking off.) But what odd circumstances, to bring an institutionalist like Masset and the vaguely chaotic TAGgers in to the same fold.

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Elections, Election 2012, City Council Elections, Texans for Accountable Government, Mike Martinez, Laura Pressley, Fluoride

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