Republican primary voters in Senate District 31 (SD 31) have good reason to be wary of supporting moderate Senator Kel Seliger: deep-pocketed, out-of-district, special interests. The same interest groups have filled Sen. Seliger’s campaign war chest to nearly $1.6 Million, dwarfing his only challenger in the primary, conservative former Mayor of Midland Mike Canon. With so little financial support coming from SD 31, and his poor ratings on major conservative scorecards, it would seem that Seliger is more concerned with representing lobbyist’s interests than his voter’s interests.
A list of Seliger’s largest, all-time contributors from his time in the Legislature reads like a “who’s-who” of the most powerful special interests in Texas. The interests of the lobby are fickle: many of Seliger’s largest contributors also contribute heavily to liberal Democrats. His largest contributor by far (with all-time contributions exceeding $100,000), the Texas Association of Realtors, gave over $40,000 to liberal Democrat Senator-turned gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Seliger’s second-highest all-time contributor, the Texas Medical Association, is known for it’s outspoken stance against pro-life legislation, and ardent support of Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare.
With so much lobby money in his coffers, it is fitting to ask, “What is the lobby’s return on investment?” For an answer, one need only look at Sen. Seliger’s moderate record representing SD 31. Sen. Seliger is perhaps most well known for targeting grassroots conservative groups with his authorship of Senate Bill 346. This legislation (vetoed by Gov. Perry) would have been used for the silencing and intimidation of grassroots conservatives through donor disclosure requirements, while exempting labor unions from these same rules. Sen. Seliger simply cannot tolerate any groups that actually publish his voting record in the Texas Senate yet seems content to use massive donations from corporate PACs and grassroots-opposing lobbyists to obfuscate his record by touting his work in the Legislature as “proven conservative results.”.
Seliger and his allies supported Senate Bill 346 under their pretense that the measure exposes so-called “Dark Money” or money raised by conservative 501 (c)(4) organizations (classified by the IRS as social welfare groups) that inform the public on important issues. Only a cynic would characterize concerned citizens’ support of conservative advocacy groups as “Dark Money” while accepting money from the seedy, smoke-filled backrooms of Austin’s lobby haunts. Sen. Seliger also supported House Bill 1422, a new law specifically designed to discourage citizen-led grassroots groups from talking to elected officials.
While Senator Seliger is at war with the grassroots, he also maintains a strident campaign against many conservative policy positions they support. During the 83rd Session , Seliger joined every Democrat in the Senate, including Wendy Davis to support a bloated budget and other bills that increased spending 26% from the previous session. By supporting the budget, Seliger also voted to increase his own state pension by 12%. Sen. Seliger also supported SB 303, an advance directive bill backed by the Texas Medical Association (TMA) that was heavily criticized by Texas Right to Life as a weakening of current end-of-life legislation. Furthermore, Sen. Seliger’s support for Gambling expansion in Texas could reveal his possible intentions to amass even more special interest campaign cash.
With a record like Seliger’s, it is little wonder that Democrats never even bothered to field a candidate for SD 31—they are probably perfectly happy with their representation in the Texas Senate. Texans in SD 31 (centered on the Panhandle, and the South Plains, stretching toward the Permian Basin, including Amarillo and Midland/Odessa) are undoubtedly many of the most conservative in our state, yet they lack a Senator that shares their values. Conservatives in SD 31 lack adequate representation.
Although money is important in politics, all the money Seliger has raised doesn’t matter if citizens have the discernment to make informed choices in primary voting. Republican primary voters will have a choice on March 4th—the same-old, grassroots-opposing, big-money marionette Kel Seliger or conservative former Mayor of Midland Mike Canon.
It is time for a candidate that is principled in action, not simply “conservative” in rhetoric. It is time to fire Sen. Kel Seliger.
Find out more about Seliger’s record and how you can get involved at www.SenatorSeliger.com