If you’re a Republican voter planning to vote in the Republican Primary Runoff for Agriculture Commission on May 27, Tommy Merritt thinks you’re a fool.

Merritt is running for Agriculture Commissioner against conservative Sid Miller. Merritt is a former state representative who was unseated by Rep. David Simpson in 2010. Support for Simpson grew after Merritt attended a local TEA Party meeting and confessed to not knowing what the tenth amendment was and to never having read the bill of rights.

When he was in office, Merritt was widely viewed as so liberal that he was sometimes called a “caucus of one.” This came after Merritt gave information from Republican caucus meetings to the Democrats in order to aid them in fighting proposed voter ID laws. He earned failing grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and his ratings were so low with Young Conservatives of Texas (his scores in his final two sessions were a 48 and a 46, respectively) that he was labeled a “Certified RINO” along with just four other GOP legislators.

For this record of working explicitly against conservative interests, Merritt was the only Republican to receive the endorsement of the liberal Austin Chronicle. In the same article in which the left wing alternative newspaper endorsed Wendy Davis, the Chronicle praised Merritt for being a “conscientious thorn in his party’s side” who “resisted the Tea Party revolution in 2010.”

Yesterday it was discovered that Merritt’s campaign had put up a faux-grassroots website called “Texas Conservative Scorecard” that appears, at first glance, to be a conservative group which is supporting Merritt. But closer inspection reveals that it is solely focused on Merritt’s race. There are the same ridiculous photos of Merritt lugging a hay bale around in the snow (great imagery for a May run-off!) as are used on his personal campaign literature, and the obligatory photos of his opponent, the conservative Sid Miller, caught mid-blink with his eyes closed. The “scorecards” put out by the “group” focus only on Merritt and Miller and, rather than examining voting records, they just contain campaign talking points. Even a list of “conservative bills” allegedly considered by the phony organization are a random listing of bills authored or coauthored by Tommy Merritt, including some that never made it out of committee.

Yet the “About Us” page for the website claims that “Texas Conservative Scorecard” “cut[s] through the rhetoric and political doublespeak and show[s] who the true conservatives really are.” The page puts forward the phony organization as a watchdog that “dig[s] past the political speeches” and “look[s] at the candidates’ voting records” to identify the “RINOs” and “liberals” who masquerade as conservatives. “We know actions speak louder than words!,” the page proudly proclaims.

That, of course, is the one true statement on the entire website. Actions do speak louder than words. Despite all of the phony grassroots games, on the front page, hidden in white print on a gray background, is a political disclaimer noting that the entire project is a “PD. POL. ADV BY TOMMY MERRITT CAMPAIGN, JANET MERRITT, TREASURER.”

It is clear from Tommy Merritt’s actions that he does not respect the citizens of the state of Texas. He thinks he can put a fake website together to claim conservative street cred. We believe that the voters are smarter than that, and that Merritt will be soundly rejected for a third (and hopefully final) time this May.

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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