Three men have had a stranglehold on Harris County politics for 20 years. They have been the “king makers”, without a doubt. Dr. Steven Hotze, Terry Lowery, and Gary Polland.
Dr. Steven Hotze’s PAC produces and distributes the voters’ guides, Conservative Republicans of Harris County and Conservative Republicans of Texas.
Terry Lowery markets a voters’ guide known at the Link Letter. It arrives in your mail box in magazine form.
Also in magazine form, full of glossy ads, is Gary Polland’s Texas Conservative Review. Plastered right the top of the front cover is “Official Voters Guide”.
Election cycle after election cycle, there always seemed to be a strange correlation to the ads in the magazine-form slates and the candidates who had their names checked for recommendation on tear-out sample ballots that can be carried to the voting machines. Folks started taking note. Eventually, more than a few citizen watchdogs, journalists, and activists tracked the money. The unanimous conclusion of their findings? Pay-To-Play.
It’s easy. The candidate buys an ad. The publisher of the voters’ guide, whether any legitimate vetting was conducted, or not, gets the checkmark by their name on the tear-out sample ballot. Write a check. Get a checkmark.
How can we be sure pay-to-play is still going on? Candidates in this cycle have told us they have been approached again this election by slate publishers with the pitch that undoubtedly links a check to a checkmark. More to come on this.
Depending on where you vote in Harris County, the 2nd-largest county in America, on your way out of the polling location, you might want to take a peek into a nearby wastebasket. It’ll probably be overflowing with sample ballot tear-outs. In previous election cycles, the win rate on these slate mailers has topped 90%.
This type of election corruption unknowingly feeds into the frustrations of the Texas electorate as candidates are pushed who were endorsed because they were willing to cough up five-figure ad rates and had the clams to pay for it, and the lack of ethics to pay for it.
If the slate mailers were actually pushing principled candidates driven by liberty, one could perhaps see the value in the strategic tactic – candidates that are underfunded pooling their finances to cut cost and reach for-sure voters. But, that’s not the case. Instead, with the pay-to-play slate corruption you get a hodgepodge of officeholders that you have no idea what to expect from them.
RERcontributor and legal analyst, Ed Hubbard, has been following and fighting these practices for several years and remembers its origin. As legal counsel to the Harris County Republican Party, under his name, just before early voting the party distributed an email warning county voters of the deception that these voters’ guides commit. In this RER HOT CLIP, Ed and Apostle Claver go through all the aspects of the pay-to-play scheme.
The Disappointment of Dr. Hotze. Has He Really Converted?
Dr. Steven Hotze has deep pockets. However, we wonder if they’re stuffed with paper from his own personal wealth or that of candidates and consultants that contribute to his PAC for his endorsement?
He made a logical decision that after two decades of Harris County political influence and dominance, to take his scheme statewide. He began going hard in 2012, and in the 2014 cycle put the pedal to the medal in his statewide involvement with the distribution of the Conservative Republicans of Texas voters’ guide. The sample ballots, with a mail-in ballot usually enclosed, were overflowing with RINOs check marked – including Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus.
In a follow up article, we will give more details of Dr. Hotze’s initiatives that were anti liberty. But, for now, for context, it suffices to say that Dr. Hotze was a huge proponent of the Texas Solution and worked for its inclusion in the 2012 Republican Party of Texas platform. At the 2014 convention, Hotze and his team defended the amnesty plank like momma wolverines, but were ultimately defeated by the one thing that will defeat any pay-to-play scheme – education, information, and organization.
At the 2014 convention, the LM (Liberty Movement) grassroots knew what happened in 2012, were prepared for battle and organized enough to whip votes during the convention fight. Amnesty was yanked. Hotze and clan were not thrilled. Blood was on the convention floor. (Almost, literally)
Hotze went on to the next regularly scheduled battlefield – the 2015 84th Texas Legislative Session.
He went into the session believing he had rock-solid assurances that on his conservative social issues there would be significant gains. He was lied to and played like a grand piano by the Straus=ians. Again, Hotze was not thrilled. But, had he truly learned his lesson?
At the conclusion of the predictably ugly 2015 session, Hotze made it known through the various political channels and factions that he was done with Straus and the Straus-ians. This was war!
During the summer he called a secret meeting in the Houston area of socially conservative and LM leaders from across the state. He wanted to work in that coalition. LM activists were in a condition of near fainting when the news was leaked to RER. Hotze was considered an opponent and here he was aggressively working with those that previously couldn’t stand him.
Joyous signs from Hotze continued. Reports from LM candidates from around Texas was that he was truly reaching out to them and their campaigns was looking like he was indeed walking the talk. His Faith, Family, and Freedom Tour around the state during the Houston homosexual ordinance battle drew good reviews, crowds and featured some LM champions and candidates.
But, then the Hotze voters’ guide, Conservative Republicans of Harris County, hit the snail mail boxes. Oh, oh…
The egregious endorsements were numerous.
- The “Drunken” State Rep. Dan Huberty – snagged in the APF video recording operation coming off the House floor sloppy blitzed and ready for a fight. LM candidate Mitchell Bosworth is on the ballot.
- S. Congressman Kevin Brady – with two LM candidates, one with a LM Champion legislative track record with scorecard grades in the 90s, Steve Toth, on the ballot. The other is Steve McMichael.
- RINO Appointed Harris County Sheriff, Ron Hickman – As a Harris County Constable, he helped to get a convicted drunk driver — nephew of retiring State Rep. and Straus-ian property, Patricia Harless — an early prison release. Oh, Harless’ nephew killed one of Hickman’s deputy constables at a 100mph clip. Hickman and Harless are really tight. Additionally, Sheriff’s Deputy Carl Pittman is on the ballot in that race, and is endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Pittman promises to run the Harris County Sheriff’s Department by the “founding documents of this Republic”.
- HD130 Candidate Tom Oliverson – is a client of political consultant of the dark side and “former” Hotze partner, Allen Blakemore. LM slate candidate Kay Smith has repeatedly stated that she will NOT vote for Joe Straus for Speaker, whether he wins his primary, or not. Oliverson has called Joe Straus “The King”.
- And, others…
Missteps by Dr. Hotze on his endorsed slate? Perhaps. Perhaps, not.
It saddens us to suggest that you toss Dr. Hotze’s voters’ guide, as well. He’s got some LM candidates circled, for sure.
However, are we to accept a few of his fave RINOs that are connected to his buddy and “former” partner Blakemore for the sake of getting his ok and cash for the LM candidates? No.
Dr. Hotze needs to show consistency towards liberty or he and his endorsements must continue to be distrusted and discarded. The pay-to-play slates must be defeated, the practice must be stopped, and Hotze had best make a clean break and show true conversion, through and through.
Back in the summer of 2015 when Hotze called the secret meeting to announce his declaration of war on Straus, one of the attendees eventually put their name on the ballot for public office. However, when Hotze’s slate hit the mail, the candidate’s name didn’t have a checkmark by it.
RER contacted the candidate via text to find out, “What’s up?”
The reply from the candidate that Hotze invited to that declaration of war meeting? Only three words. “Pay to play”.
RER HOT CLIP Ed Hubbard Exposes the Pay-To-Play Endorsement Scheme
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