When liberal editorial page editors make endorsements, particularly in a Republican Primary, one has to expect to wear waders and a nose clip. But the Dallas Morning News’ endorsement of Charles Stafford of Denton reeks of bad ideas that he apparently stunk up all by himself.

Stafford is seeking to unseat State Senator Craig Estes of Wichita Falls. Now, Estes hasn’t exactly been the conservative movement’s champion (he scored an anemic 33% on our legislative scorecard, putting him in the Senate average), but he’s no slouch, and his heart is in the right place even if his vote isn’t always.

But voting for Charles Stafford as a conservative alternative…? Not in this universe.

The Denton school board member gets the DMN nod because he “supports full-day kindergarten and pre-K for all districts.” These are not only ridiculous policy prescriptions without academic evidence of benefit, they also amount to massive cost increases on taxpayers staggering under the weight of public education bureaucracy. Mr. Stafford’s solution? Weigh taxpayers down even more with faddish programs that don’t deliver.

Oddly, Mr. Stafford told the Empower Texans PAC that he supports local-government spending limits and an end to unfunded mandates. But yet he is touting his experience to the Dallas Morning News in bulging budgets and proposal programs that compel pitiful public school performance.

To be fair, Mr. Stafford did tell us that he opposes reform to the property tax appraisal process (you read that right). So it’s clear that he understands that the unbridled (and mostly unaccountable) growth in local government spending is achieved through a complex insider game that increases tax burdens annually. He apparently likes that system; it lets him spend your money without remorse.

Stafford’s DMN endorsement also comes with his call for more spending in higher education. Why? Well, he wants to make it more affordable, of course. In reality, higher ed is a black hole, that needs to be radically reformed.

It apparent that Mr. Stafford’s view of “conservative” reform is to toss money at a problem. To toss your money.

Craig Estes, at least, knows better than that.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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