A throwdown in West Texas as Chairman Frullo squares off against former Rep. Landtroop

Frullo fends off Empower Texans border security attacks with some backup from Breitbart Texas’ boss Brandon Darby; Landtroop says Frullo is in Austin to “kiss the (bleep) of the Bohener, McConnell, Straus establishment”

The following article was originally published on the Quorum Report.

LUBBOCK – Voters driving their pickup trucks down dusty roads here listening to country radio are likely to hear the voice of a lawmaker who now represents a district in East Texas extolling the virtues of Lubbock’s representative in the Texas House. In a radio commercial for Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock, his colleague Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, says that the House Insurance Committee Chairman brings his West Texas values to the Capitol when lawmakers are in session.Clardy is originally from the Lubbock area.

There have been positive ads like that on both sides but it hasn’t been all nice up here on the Caprock by any measure. In fact, the airwaves have been filled with heated debates and sharply worded commercials in the race between Rep. Frullo and former Rep. Jim Landtroop.

Landtroop just started running this television advertisement in which an announcer says politicians in Austin "kiss the (bleep) of the Boehner, McConnell, Straus establishment in order to be voted most likely to get the corner office." The challenger has also been the beneficiary of some of Midland oilman Tim Dunn’s largesse in the form of mail pieces attacking Frullo on border security funding. On that front, Frullo found what some might consider an unlikely ally in the form of Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby, an absolute hardliner on border security and illegal immigration.

"This has gone too far. This is way too far. And it's not accurate," Darby said of attacks on Speaker Joe Straus and Rep. Frullo. "If Straus had done something wrong here or Frullo had done something wrong, I'd be the first to jump up and hit ‘em on it,” Darby said on the West Texas Drive Radio Show. “I'm telling you this is not true."

Darby was talking about two attacks.

The first – and most egregious in Darby’s estimation – is a TV advertisement by the Young Conservatives of Texas running against Speaker Straus in San Antonio that claims the presiding officer of the House has “blood on his hands” after a young man named Spencer Golvach was gunned down by an illegal immigrant in Houston last year.

Saying conservatives should not "sit silent" when lies are told in campaigns, Darby said the border security attacks on Straus, Frullo, and others are over the line. "We've gotten to the point at going against Straus that we have forsaken fairness and reality," Darby said. Darby said he is not picking sides in Texas House races, but he wanted to make clear that the attacks being orchestrated by Dunn’s spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan are untrue.

The mailer Empower Texans has been dropping for weeks on Frullo and other House members claims they “chose to fund diversity training instead of border security.”

Dunn’s group is referring to a failed budget amendment by Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, that would have shifted some money from one fund into another for more border security planes. But as House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen and others have been quick to point out, the failure of Dale’s amendment came well after the lower chamber had already agreed to spend $800 million on border security in the Texas budget.

"This is dishonest and unfair,” said Darby, who has made a name for himself in Texas by, among other things, uncovering the images of children being held in detention centers along the border in 2014.

Rep. Dale, by the way, is supporting Frullo’s reelection effort.

Sitting in his business office – a print shop in Lubbock – Rep. Frullo said he’s been thankful to see so many of his colleagues stepping in to help him. “I hate to ask people to do stuff for me,” Frullo said. “The outpouring of support from my colleagues is unreal.”

The son of Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian, has been in Lubbock block walking for Frullo. Chairman Bonnen has been on at least two radio programs explaining the House’s 2015 record on border security.

Frullo’s campaign mail has been mostly positive, including a piece featuring endorsements of many current and former Texas Tech regents. The chairman has also unleashed at least one attack on Landtroop, pointing out that the former lawmaker did not author a single bill that was passed into law when he was in the House.

As far as their finances, the latest report shows Landtroop spent $73,000 after raising $59,000 leaving him with $43,000 in the bank. Frullo spent $238,000 after raising $237,000. He's got $270,000 or so left on hand.

Copyright February 24, 2016, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved. Republished with permission.

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