This week the tactics of the Austin political class reached an all-new low.

On Thursday, WFAA broke news that police are investigating violent threats that were made against conservative Rep. Tony Tinderholt, his wife, and their unborn child.

Instead of condemning the attacks, Tinderholt’s liberal challenger, Andrew Piel, and his campaign consultant used the news coverage as an opportunity to promote Piel’s campaign and attack Tinderholt personally. Piel is being backed by Austin special interests and consultants associated with House Speaker Joe Straus.

Piel appeared in a TV interview about the threats clad in a campaign shirt, waving one of his push cards around, with an Andrew Piel campaign yard sign positioned awkwardly behind him. The stunt was enough to draw criticism from State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, who called it “clownish.”

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That was nothing compared to the actions of Piel’s political consultant, Brian Mayes. He used an interview with the Dallas Morning News about the threats to attack Tinderholt personally and question his honesty about the threats. The DMN Reported:

Piel’s campaign spokesman Brian Mayes said he found the investigation’s timing “suspect” with the Republican primary less than two weeks away. “Turmoil and drama seem to follow Tinderholt where ever he goes,” Mayes said. “His life has just been a giant Jerry Springer show.”

Tinderholt is a bronze-star winner who nearly died while bravely saving his fellow soldiers in combat. According to Tinderholt’s consultant, Luke Macias, the Tinderholt campaign did not seek media attention about the threats and urged reporters not to publicize them.

Piel and Mayes have based their entire campaign around lying about Tinderholt and attacking him personally. They have repeatedly misconstrued, and even lied about, Tinderholt’s legislative record. It is unknown if the vitriol from Mayes and the Piel campaign contributed to the violent threats made against Tinderholt and his family.

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.

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