According to the Austin rumor mill, Ag Commissioner Todd Staples will be throwing his endorsement against a conservative incumbent… in favor of a moderate, anti-tort-reform legislator-turned-lobbyist. For someone who wants to run for lieutenant governor in two years, this will speak volumes to conservative voters.
Staples’ rumored choice in House District 88 is Gary Walker — meaning that Staples is endorsing against taxpayer champion State Rep. Jim Landtroop. We contacted Staples’ campaign office for confirmation, and received no reply.
In the legislature from 1995-2001, Walker was an underwhelming Republican. He fought against tort reform, giving aid and comfort to the trial lawyer lobby that was strangling the medical and business communities in Texas. Walker was also a relentless advocate for bigger, more costly government.
Walker averaged only a 62.8 rating out of 100 on Young Conservatives of Texas’ Legislative Scorecard for his time spent in office. (In his last session, he rated a 46 with YCT– one of the lowest Republican scores that year.)
Upon leaving office, Walker didn’t stray too far from Austin. He worked as a lobbyist (registered and otherwise) for several sessions and as the Legislative Director for the Department of Agriculture in 2007 and 2009. It might also be interesting to note that Walker and Staples also share the same nefarious political consultant: Bryan Eppstein of Fort Worth.
In contrast, Rep. Jim Landtroop distinguished himself as a conservative leader this past session, receiving honors from many conservative organizations, including Young Conservatives of Texas and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Remember, Commissioner Todd Staples is gearing up to ask you to support him in a crowded 2014 primary in which he has indicated he’ll be running for lieutenant governor. Others possibly in the race include Land Commission Jerry Patterson, Comptroller Susan Combs and State Sen. Dan Patrick. Conservative voters should be paying close attention to who these officials choose to surround themselves with now.
Siding with Walker is an interesting choice for Commissioner Staples. Over the last several weeks Comptroller Susan Combs (his future primary opponent) is out publicly supporting incumbent conservative stalwarts like Bryan Hughes, Wayne Christian, and David Simpson — who have all drawn big-government challengers.
If indeed Commissioner Staples goes on to endorse against the conservative Landtroop, it says a lot about how he might work as Lt. Governor. And what it says isn’t good for conservatives or taxpayers.