March 1, 2016 Travis County, Texas Primary Election Voter Guide

The usual preface: These are my notes, published for your benefit in case you want to see what a fellow voter is thinking. I have put in many, many hours trying to decide where to cast my vote and these are the very short version of my thinking process in most cases.

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Preference for Presidential Nominee
Jeb Bush – dropped out already. This campaign was doomed from the start, and currently he has zero chance.
Rand Paul -dropped out already
Lindsey Graham – dropped out already. A real jerk, this guy.
Mike Huckabee – dropped out already.
Donald J. Trump – Swears up and down that he’s turned into a for-real Conservative in the last few years when he spent the previous many decades as either an agnostic or a Democrat-ish businessman. You can hardly hold it against a big businessman to have associated with the Clintons, but that he praised Hillary shows a gaping hole in his judgement.  If he’s converted then I’m super happy for him. But I don’t trust him. If he continues to be a solid conservative in private life for the next 8 years of President Cruz’ tenure, I’d be happy to support him as our next President after Cruz. But he’s too new to the Red side of the aisle to be trusted, in my opinion
Marco Rubio – flipped the biggest flop on immigration, which was The Big Deal when he was running for Senator.  He was elected because he would never ever be for amnesty for illegals, then tried (as part of the “Gang of 8”) to get modified amnesty passed into law.  Notably, it was T. Cruz who was at the head of the resistance to the Gang of 8 Bill, and got it shot down in flames.  M. Rubio would be better than H. Clinton by a mile, but not as better as T. Cruz.
John R. Kasich – who? He’s done some good where he came from. Let him go back there and do some more.
Ted Cruz – PLEASE vote for Ted Cruz. I have supported him since he was “just” a local guy and his (solid conservative) positions have been the same since the beginning of his public life. He was an activist for conservative causes at an age when most people don’t give a damn for politics.  If you want someone with a track record of standing up against the status quo and even the leadership of his own party in Washington, D.C. you need look no further than T. Cruz.
Chris Christie -dropped out already
Carly Fiorina -dropped out already
Ben Carson -maybe the nicest person here. Arguably a cultist. Does not have the money or the votes to keep campaigning, and so he will lose.
Rick Santorum – dropped out already
Elizabeth Gray – who? No really, who? – nevermind anyway, she dropped out already. She can say she was a candidate for President forevermore, but that and a few dozen (hundred?) votes are all she’ll get from this election.
Uncommitted – I think Uncommitted will get more votes than E. Gray, and I am okay with this.

District 17, US Representative
Kaleb Sims – Please vote for K. Sims in this primary. Do you want change toward the more stalwart flavor of Conservative? So does he.  A private citizen who sees the need to do what he thought would be done for us in 2010 and following. His website could use some help but his heart is in the right place. Read this: http://kalebsims.com/why-kaleb-sims-for-congress/
Ralph Patterson – a solid second choice. Here is an interesting interview.
Bill Flores – A conservative, which is good to have in Congress, but he’s been going along to get along, which is not what i want. K. Sims sounds enough like a fire brand compared to Flores.

Railroad Commissioner – This very powerful 3-person commission currently has oil and gas lawyer Christi Craddick, the chairwoman, and Ryan Sitton, founder and operator of an engineering and technology firm that serves oil and gas industry, sitting on it. I think a scientist would be a good addition to round out the backgrounds of the people on this commission that has nothing to do with railroads. This pick was a tough call for me because it looks like several of the candidates would be good choices to serve in a statewide elected office.
Ron Hale Oil Worker, Engineer – runs an anti-terrorism security firm for oil and gas producers – I could vote for him in the general, but his campaign needs work. Like a school project that got merely okay grades, not amazingly impressive to me.  He *also* didn’t win a bid for state senator during the 2014 election cycle.  I’m for letting him keep doing what he does now.
Doug Jeffrey Businessman, USAF Veteran – seems like a good guy, not sure what qualifications he has specifically to serve on railroad commission though. In looking through his facebook page, there is a disturbing amount of meetings he has had with *just* women. It’s a little creepy, I’m not gonna lie. He has a hefty list of endorsements from organizations with conservative-soundig names.
.Gary Gates wealthy real estate investor and cattle rancher  – His campaign has an actual website, but it’s one bullet point deep. As I don’t understand what they all would entail in practice and some of them sound a little sketchy, Imma keep looking.  He looks like a nice guy though. If it makes a statement about his personality to you, be aware he has THIRTEEN children, some of which are adopted – he’s past middle age and if he can support them, more power to the family. He’s lost several races for election to high public office before, none of which were for railroad commission.
.Wayne ChristianEx-State Representative, Financial Advisor – I didn’t remember the name, but I knew I didn’t like something about the look of him.  Then I checked the VFD archives. In 2014, I said “Made the Texas Worst Legislators list – twice – for being a jerk when he doesnt have to be.  No”
.Weston Martinez Republican activist, on the Texas Real Estate Commission – also a hefty list of endorsements from solid-sounding organizations. Not impressive as a candidate for the Railroad Commission – let him stay on the TREC if he wants, for now.
.John Greytok –  longtime Austin attorney and lobbyist, GOP Activist – I like the look of this man. He seems like someone I would like to have in government in any position, but I think I would rather round out the commission with a scientist if we can, which leads us to…
.Lance N. Christian – I’ll be voting for L. Christian this time – He’s a geological scientist who works with the Railroad Commission currently. His campaign is pretty severely limited by having to work a full-time job where the law says he is forbidden to campaign during work hours. Despite that, he has managed to get quite a few endorsements for himself. Here, read this.

Place 3, Justice, Supreme Court
Debra Lehrmann – please re-elect Justice Lehrmann.  Even her opponent acknowledges she is doing a good job (last papragraph)
Michael Massengale – This man has crazyeyes. It may not mean much to you, but it has been fairly a reliable sign for me. My impression is that he’s a good judge who wants to be on the Supreme Court, but not that he thinks he is drastically better than D. Lehrmann. He wants the job, is all.

Place 5, Justice, Supreme Court
Paul Green – Please re-elect PAUL green to this position.
Rick GreenYou can remember who not to vote for here, because you don’t want to be RICK rolled.  YGTBFKM this guy isn’t even a judge, and he wants onto the court in place of the guy who is currently sitting in the position? Not just no!

Place 9, Justice, Supreme Court
Eva Guzman – Please re-elect Justice Guzman to this position. She would be a solid candidate even if she had a legitimate primary opponent, but this isn’t the case. Pool is a tool and needs to be defeated in a big-numbers loss. This race by itself is worth showing up to vote in this primary election!
Joe Pool – what the hell? Why do we have TWO people who aren’t even judges trying to get onto the supreme court? And this one appears to be at least suspiciously RINO-ish to boot:

Place 2, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Ray Wheless – both his opponents say they would rather see the other person take this seat than see Wheless elected. His background (civil law) would seem to suggest this is not the right kind of court (criminal law) for him.
Chris Oldner – I’ll be voting for Oldner. Zero reversals in over a decade is nice. The onliest real argument I could find against him is that he received the complaint against K. Paxton, which has been branded as a “railroading”…Oldner then recused himself, saying it was just another suit and he was just applying the law.
Mary Lou Keel – I could vote for her over a Democrat, depending on the Democrat – the main complaint against Keel is that she presided over the grand jury that let the Planned Parenthood butchers walk and indicted the messengers in that case. I’m not sure about this one but I’m going for Oldner here.

Place 5, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Scott Walker – can’t be bothered to campaign for office, so I can’t be bothered to vote for him
Brent Webster – he cares, which is nice, but I’m not sure his campaign matches being a judge more than his current career. He’s a defense lawyer who wants to defend your rights – which is nice, but it’s not exactly what a judge does.
Steve Smith – keeps running for office after office and keeps not winning. He was on a court for a couple years following an appointment, then lost his election. One more to lose, sorry Steve!
Sid Harle – Please vote for S. Harle. Everybody heaps praise upon Harle as a good judge and competent in the forensic sciences that are so important in cases he might hear on this court.

Place 6, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Michael E. Keasler – I’m voting for M. Keasler again – in 2010 I said “Re-elect Judge Keasler. He knows and is doing the job. Why interrupt his cases in progress?” He’s been on this court for a while, and there are several new justices there who might benefit from his experience as well. Keep him one more time.
Richard Davis – May be a fine lawyer and might make a fine judge, but his campaign seems to be about 50% “Keasler will be forced to retire in 4 years” at which time the Governor will appoint his replacement. I’d rather have the benefit of four more years of Keasler’s experience, than to see a non-judge elected to this high court.

~There are a number of uncontested seats in this primary. Vote for them. If nothing else, it shows you cared enough to show up for your party at the primary.~

County Chairman
Robert Morrow – His tin-foil hat may be screwed on too tightly for him to run a campaign. All I could find in his support was a blogspot blog that is a bit closer to the kooky fringe than I like!
James Dickey – Please help me re-elect Chairman Dickey

Republican Propositions – these tend to be red meat issues and are agreed-to by a majority of the party. I expect this year will be no different.

Proposition 1 – Please vote FOR Prop. 1
“Texas should replace the property tax system with an alternative other than an income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden”

Translation: We want some kind of a state-wide sales tax to replace the current system. The alternatives are an income tax to penalize work, and a property tax which steals your land if you can’t pay enough to live there. I prefer the Fair Tax proposal, so Prop. 1 is a step in the right direction for me.

Proposition 2 – Please vote FOR Prop. 2
“Texas cities and counties should be required to comply with federal immigration laws or be penalized by loss of state funds”

– In other words, no more “sanctuary cities” where illegal immigrants are not turned over to the feds in accordance with existing federal immigration law.

Proposition 3 – Please vote FOR Prop. 3
“Texas should prohibit governmental entities from collecting dues for labor unions through deductions from public employee paychecks”

-That is to say, the people who pay the dues will be the union members. This sounds like a great idea. If people realize how much they are paying to their unions, hopefully they will want more than *membership status* from their unions.

Proposition 4 – Please vote FOR Prop. 4 – this should be a no-brainer for most Texans.
“Texas and its citizens should strongly assert 10th Amendment Rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution withch states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.””

-this sounds like red meat propaganda to stir up the base, but I like it, anyway.