In East Texas, a liberal Mayor who boasts of being part of the “establishment” is seeking a promotion to the House of Representatives.

Mayor Jay Dean is running for HD 7, a seat left open when David Simpson announced for Senate. Dean is facing David Watts, a local conservative leader, in the March primary.

In September, Dean was ridiculed for openly calling himself part of the “Establishment.”

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How Dean would define “establishment” is unclear, but one can assume Dean is referring to supporters of liberal Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Dean has donated to Straus’s reelection in the past.

Jay Dean has a history of liberal activism as mayor of Longview.

In 2011, Dean spearheaded the creation of a “Diversity Advisory Council” to implement affirmative action for hiring in Longview.

Dean made national headlines in 2014 when he cancelled a Ted Nugent concert and paid $16,250 of taxpayer money for the rocker not to perform in Longview after he criticized President Obama. Keith Rothra, former chairman of the Gregg County Republican Party didn’t buy the city’s explanation. “We have paid $16,000 for political correctness,” Rothra said.

The left-wing website Forward Progressives praised Dean for cancelling the Nugent concert.

Shortly after the cancellation Dean called on private citizens to foot the bill for his decision. Local citizens didn’t buy it. In comments, one local resident acknowledged it was Dean’s decision and criticized Dean for pretending he was uninvolved. Another called for Dean to resign for wasting $16,000.

That same year, Dean wrote a letter to a gay pride rally held in Longview commending it. The letter was read aloud by city councilmember Kasha Williams, who added comments criticizing Christian values.

“This is such a commemorative event here in Longview,” said Williams. “That is a message that this is a much-needed event. I am a Christian, but in the same vein I have to add we can no longer afford to hide behind the veil of Christianity.”

Dean’s record has caused liberal bloggers to praise him as an improvement for them over Simpson. “Former Longview mayor Jay Dean will reportedly seek Simpson’s seat,” wrote Greg’s Opinion, a well-trafficked liberal blog. “At first glance, he seems to be an improvement over most in the Lege. But in fairness to our friends in East Texas, HD1’s Gary VanDeaver’s election in 2014 was a good head start on improving the other caucus.”

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.