Doherty's Romney Connection

Mudslinging in Con­gres­sion­al District 10 race begins

Larry Joe Doherty
Larry Joe Doherty

The first real mudslinging in the Democratic primary for Congres­sion­al District 10 has been slung, although there's no evidence it came from a candidate. On Jan. 8, Vince Leibowitz of the Capitol Annex blog wrote 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 GOP Rep. Lamar Smith.

Leibowitz cross-posted the revelation to the widely read Burnt Orange Report, which set off a flurry of responses attacking and defending Doherty. One poster tarred Doherty as "McCaul lite" – Michael McCaul is the three-term Republican incumbent – which brought a defense of Doherty from former CD 10 candidate Lorenzo Sadun, who wrote, "I prefer [Dan] 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 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 last week, when I ran into him at a forum. Noting McCaul is vulnerable but loaded with cash, Doherty asked: "Do they want a purity test for money? Anybody that naive doesn't deserve to be allowed to have political commentary. They ought to go to school and study something."

"We're proud of our support from Jim McIng­vale," Doherty continued. "He's a longtime, long-term Democratic Party supporter. [His 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, Doherty replied, "Not amongst the informed voters."

Later at the same event, 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 [in] conjunction with Lamar Smith, I would respectfully ask them to do it separately from my campaign, just because it creates a conflict of interest."

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