By now, most political observers are aware of Andy Cargile’s efforts to run the nastiest, pettiest campaign in Texas politics. Last week, Cargile, the establishment challenger to taxpayer champion Jonathan Stickland, ran ads attacking Stickland for being a “high school dropout” and ads prominently featuring the expletive “Bulls**t.” The ads were widely condemned as inappropriate, particularly against a sitting Representative with a record, and Cargile is currently dealing with the blowback from the pieces.

More recently, Cargile has been exposed for efforts to actively court Democrat voters and pull them into the Republican primary. Cargile’s campaign has been caught emailing Democrats encouraging them to turnout and Cargile signs with the “Republican” label crossed-out have shown up in the district. Meanwhile Cargile signs have popped up accompanying Wendy Davis signs in the yards of prominent Democratic officials in District 92.

But now comes the most inexplicable and downright bizarre decision by the Cargile campaign yet. Cargile appears to be courting the lobby in Austin with his voter mail. Cargile has mailed his attack mailers to lobbyists in Austin, as if they could turn out on March 4th to vote for him.

This week, TFR’s outside legal counsel, Trey Trainor, forwarded the following copy of Cargile’s “dropout” attack piece to us.

Andy Cargile Mailer in A_001-2

Trainor has been and remains a registered lobbyist in addition to his work as an election law attorney. The mailer was received at his Austin law office.  Amazed, Trainor asked us to confirm that Cargile was sending his attack mailers to the lobby. So we set out to confirm whether the mailer sent to Trainor was a trend or a fluke.

We reached-out to Austin lobbyist Steve Koebele and he confirmed that he had received all of Cargile’s hit pieces. Not only that, Koebele confirmed that every member of the lobby he had spoken with about the matter had received the mailers, including all of the other lobbyists in his building. They are all laughing about how ridiculous it is for a campaign to send voter mail to lobbyists in Austin, Koebele informed us. Everyone we have spoken with has confirmed that this is the first time they have ever seen a candidate – from either party – send political mail during campaign season to lobbyists in Austin.

Even more amusing is the fact that Trainor is on the record as the attorney for TFR and we have made no secret of our support for Jonathan Stickland’s reelection. Likewise, Koebele has contributed money in his individual capacity to Stickland’s reelection effort this cycle. So, not only did Andy Cargile mail the lobby, his campaign failed to do basic due diligence to remove known Stickland supporters from his mailing list.

The decision to send voter mail to Austin lobbyists raises serious questions about Andy Cargile’s discretion and integrity. It appears Cargile not only buys into, but supports, the misconception that the establishment lobby controls (and should control) who wins elections in Texas.  Voters in District 92 should ask themselves whether they want to be represented by a man who – before he is even elected – sees the Austin lobby as his constituency. Such an attitude bodes poorly for the chances that Andy Cargile would represent the interests of his voters if he were elected to go to Austin.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.