Tea Party groups in North Texas splinter after Capriglione says there is no race for Speaker
DALLAS – It may have been the hope of some Tea Party leaders here in North Texas that the headlines this week would read something like “Conservatives Unite Against Joe Straus,” but it hasn’t quite played out that way.
If anything, a splintering among Tea Party groups here in the region is now more apparent following what some have called a bold move by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, when he told the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party there is no way he can support Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, in his challenge to Speaker Joe Straus. Others have blasted Capriglione by saying he “ran against Straus” when he defeated former Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Keller.
"The reality is there is no race for Scott Turner versus Joe Straus," Capriglione said during a Monday night town hall-style meeting, adding that Turner is in no way qualified to preside over the Texas House. “He doesn't have the depth when it comes to policy,” he said. Other lawmakers in the area disagree, including Rep. Matt Krause, R-Ft. Worth and Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford. They’ve both pledged to vote for Turner, who also has the financial backing of Tim Dunn’s Empower Texans.
Some of the conservative activists at that meeting reacted with anger and disbelief. Meantime, the North Texas Tea Party, the predominant group of its type in Collin County, posted this on their website:
"Let’s make this simple for the members of the Texas House:
ANY STATE REPRESENTATIVE WHO VOTES FOR JOE STRAUS AGAINST SCOTT TURNER WILL BE PRECLUDED FROM GAINING NTTP TEAAPPROVAL. ANYONE WHO VOTES TO NOT HAVE ANY OPEN RECORDED VOTE ON THIS ISSUE WILL ALSO BE PRECLUDED."
Now, that’s no small threat when thinking of Republican primary season in North Texas. We at Buzz Central have heard the stories of candidates being grilled during interviews in which their “Tea Approval” hangs in the balance. But, as straightforward as the North Texas Tea Party’s threat seems, it may not be that simple at all.
A Tea Party group in Capriglione's district took a more nuanced approach to his announcement, asking their supporters to be understanding of what he’s trying to accomplish by vying for a seat at the table during the 2015 session of The Legislature. In fact, The Boiling Point TEA Party in House District 98 went so far as to say Turner has no shot at the Speaker’s office. "Scott Turner is running for Speaker of the House. Nice guy but only has 18 votes,” the group’s president Marie Howard said. “The votes are not there!"
The email from the Boiling Point Tea Party also cited an article from Adrian Murray, a conservative grassroots leader with the Fort Worth 9-12 Project. Murray’s thoughts on leadership might surprise casual observers of the Tea Party as a movement, given that so many of its self-appointed spokesmen often talk almost exclusively in absolute terms.
From Murray’s article:
Those leading the charge into vote-them-all-out fantasy land need to get a grip. One can never, ever, in any legislative body, have 100% conformity to one’s ideas or agenda. Believing so can only lead to a life filled with frustration and disappointment.
Instead of driving down that dead end road, the grassroots needs to hone its political skills and seek to influence our legislators by reasoning, not badgering. If you want a representative who will vote exactly how you want on every single issue, be prepared to run for office yourself.
This conservative-minded citizen’s uprising has proven to be a formidable force and scored some major successes. However, we will not win every battle and should reject any such expectations.
One important piece of this concerning Capriglione’s future electability is that even though the larger Tea Party groups are now furious with him, the one that’s come to his defense is exclusively in his House district. One has to believe Capriglione vetted this message with the grassroots activists closest to home before going public with his thoughts on Turner.
Copyright November 12, 2014, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved.