What began as paranoia over Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Southlake has exploded into a full-blown infection engulfing Tarrant County. The disease preys on the gullible and willfully ignorant who worship assault rifles, practice misogyny and racism, and hew to perverted interpretations of Christianity. The aim of this far-right movement is to place followers of Cult 45 in office so this county can be “great” again, a not-so-subtle reference to times when Blacks were lynched for perceived slights toward whites and the right to vote was heavily guarded by powerful white men.
The midterms are now a referendum on basic human rights due to the steady erosion of our freedoms by an alliance of opportunistic Republicans, brainwashed evangelicals, and evil white supremacists who now openly flaunt their bigotry. The governor’s race is the most important statewide contest not because of policy, taxes, or spending issues but rather the danger families face when taking their children to schools that are increasingly targeted by mass shooters who can buy assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition clips on their 18th birthday.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s public statement that the Uvalde massacre “could have been worse” says everything about his concern for the safety of children and his love affair with the NRA, which has spent more than $2 million lobbying the Texas legislature over the past five years alone.
Bodily autonomy is also on November’s ballot because Abbott supported and signed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country. And that was before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The combined state and federal effort to gut women’s reproductive rights now makes it a felony for a medical provider to perform an abortion, even in cases of incest or rape.
Former U.S. Rep Beto O’Rourke has mounted a formidable gubernatorial campaign by crisscrossing the state to advocate for common sense reforms that would legalize marijuana, revamp the state’s power grid, and invest in rural counties and small businesses. Abbott, rather than make his case for his reelection, is preoccupied with trafficking immigrants across state lines and flouting the federal laws that prohibit those acts.
It takes a real loon to stand out as the nuttiest leader in the Lone Star State, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wins that title easily. Whether obsessing over children’s bathrooms, calling on old fogies like himself to die from COVID to save the economy, or perpetuating lies that CRT is indoctrinating public school students in Marxist ideology, Patrick always takes lead in enshrining Fox Nation’s warped “values” as law.
Democrat Mike Collier came within four points of sparing Texans of the past four years of an unhinged lieutenant governor four years ago, and he’s running again. The priorities of the lifelong accountant and auditor include properly funding public schools, ending corporate loopholes and using the resulting revenue to lower property taxes, and restoring reproductive rights lost after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Indicted State Attorney General Ken Paxton misused his office to further baseless claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, but the only fraud, as it turns out, is him. Rochelle Garza, staff attorney with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), lists opening access to health care, protecting civil rights, and legalizing cannabis — a move supported by nearly 70% of Texans — as her top priorities.
Tarrant County elections are every bit as important as national and statewide races. While not comprehensive, the basics on the following candidates should be available to all our readers.
As a voting member of the commissioners court and the county’s top elected official, the judge seat is understandably one of the most closely fought local races. This year’s contest pits Republican Tim O’Hare against Democrat Deborah Peoples.
Pathological liar O’Hare is best known for lighting the match that ignited Southlake’s political dumpster fire three years ago when the Carroll school district, which oversees Southlake’s public schools, became the target of a full-on assault by wealthy right-wing asshats.
From mid to late 2020 and early 2021, Carroll’s school board prepared to pass a comprehensive plan aimed at protecting ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ students from the racial slurs and discrimination which are currently being investigated by the federal government. Southlake’s lovers of the one-term, twice-impeached racist rapist who lost the popular vote by 3 million in 2016 and around 7 million in 2020 reacted by latching on to lies about CRT even as the conspiracy theory’s creator debunked his own deception. Last year, Christopher Rufo told NBC that his goal was to turn CRT into a “national brand that gave American conservatives a new frame for understanding what is happening around them.”
It was a ploy that allowed conservatives to push back on anti-racism programs across the country, and North Texas’ strongest supporter of the conspiracy theory was O’Hare, who said he founded a PAC, Southlake Families, that played a key role in spreading CRT misinformation. O’Hare showed himself to be willing to repeatedly break the Ninth Commandment throughout his primary battle against former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. O’Hare hired Axiom Strategies, which is headed by former Ted “Cancun” Cruz campaign director Jeff Roe, to falsely portray Price as a Marxist supporter of Antifa. The misinformation campaign worked. Nearly 57% of 120,000 right-wingers chose O’Hare as the Republican candidate over Price.
Racist and unethical acts define much of O’Hare’s professional and political careers. The county judge candidate may be hoping that voters don’t delve into his early political work as a city councilmember (2005-2008) then mayor (2008-2011) of Farmers Branch in northwest Dallas County.
Early into his first term as a councilmember, O’Hare pushed through an ordinance that, beginning in 2006, required landlords to check the citizen status of tenants even as immigration enforcement then and now remains the sole purview of the federal government. In a Dallas Observer article at the time, O’Hare was quoted as saying that Hispanics are “less desirable people” who don’t value education or take care of their properties.
Attorneys working for the City of Farmers Branch spent more than 5 million taxpayer dollars defending the law that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional.
When touting his county judge credentials, O’Hare often cites his two decades of owning and managing his self-titled Carrollton-based personal injury law firm. According to 2018 court documents, Judge Tonya Parker with Dallas County’s 116th district court ordered disciplinary actions against one of O’Hare’s attorneys for tampering with evidence submitted in court (“ Tim O’Hare’s Campaign Gains Mo, One Lie at a Time,” Feb. 24). Parker said that in previous cases that she presided over, unnamed court officers said that altering evidence appeared to be not only permissible at O’Hare’s firm but was “sort of a firm-wide almost policy.”
“The notion that our firm had or has a policy of tampering with evidence is ludicrous and defamatory on its face,” O’Hare said in an email reply to our reporting earlier this year.
O’Hare maintains close relations with Mercy Culture Church, the charismatic operation that grifts off anyone it can while bashing the LGBTQ+ community and openly violating federal laws that forbid tax-exempt churches from supporting political candidates, and that connection alone should be enough to horrify anyone who cares about this country’s history of religious tolerance and the separation of church and state (“ Mercy Culture Wars,” May 18).
Peoples brings decades of executive business experience to her campaign that focuses on providing affordable health care and housing, strong public schools, and economic strength for Tarrant County.
Two terms of DA Sharen Wilson’s administration have drained the DA’s office of its best prosecutors and the public’s trust. The politicized prosecution of two Carroll school board members in 2021 as a favor to O’Hare, who used that favor to discredit the school board as he pushed his CRT bullshit, emboldened a Christian Nationalism movement that has since grown considerably.
After Wilson announced she would not run for reelection, Republican Phil Sorrells, a longtime county court judge, and Democrat Tiffany Burks, a former prosecutor, entered and won their respective primaries. Sorrells has been endorsed by the twice-impeached former president and has publicly stated that this country’s drug problems are fueled by Mexicans who have a personal desire to kill Americans. His campaign material makes no mention of the tens of thousands of teens, men, and women in this country who have died overdosing from pharmaceuticals produced and distributed domestically by multibillion-dollar corporations.
Burks’ motto is People Over Politics, and her grassroots campaign is founded on rebuilding the DA’s office, providing diversion programs as an alternative to incarceration, holding criminals accountable, and seeking justice over convictions.
Tarrant County’s lone female commissioner, Devan Allen, took office in 2018 and has been a rare progressive voice on a court that supported the far-right political aims of Republican Sheriff Bill Waybourn and DA Wilson by maintaining agreements with ICE. Allen recently announced her intention to not seek reelection to the precinct that serves southeast Tarrant County.
Republican Andy Nguyen, who served two terms as Precinct 2 commissioner between 2010 and 2018, now faces Democrat Alisa Simmons, a former journalist and current business owner.
Nguyen recently held a press conference where he alleged that Simmons, who is Black, made overtly racist remarks on social media. Simmons recently told the Star-Telegram that the comments attributed to her are fake. Nguyen has yet to apologize, and given his close connections to racist liar O’Hare, Nguyen’s allegations reek of Southlake Playbook shenanigans.
Tarrant County’s district clerk who shall go nameless here may be best known for sleeping through weekly commissioners court meetings. The steward of district court records and avowed QAckhead who maintains that our magazine is funded by Deep State pedophiles is running against Democrat Ruby Faye Woolridge.
Criminal and Family Court Judges
The 324th District Court, which oversees family and child custody cases, will be presided over by either Democrat Crystal Gayden or 324th Associate Judge Beth Poulos come January. Current district judge Jerome S. Hennigan is retiring. Gayden, a Black woman, is a family law attorney whose priorities include diversifying the county’s family court judges and fairly adjudicating the best interests of parents and children. Republican Poulos lists endorsements by 60 family law attorneys, which should raise questions about how the candidate plans to return the favors. Tarrant County’s family courts are under heavy scrutiny by local parents and parental rights advocates who allege personal relationships between attorneys and judges sway decisions in favor of law firms whose members play golf with judges and cover the tab or bankroll judicial campaigns.
Tarrant County’s 10 county criminal courts oversee Class A and B misdemeanor cases while 11 district courts settle felony charges. In an online interview, DA candidate Sorrells recently said there is a backlog of around 40,000 misdemeanor and felony cases that grows by the day. The majority of them are for nonviolent offenses. The solution, according to multiple Republican candidates, is to bring in visiting retired judges who routinely refuse to file their Oath of Office likely because taking the anti-bribery portion would cut into their profiteering. Visiting retired judges stand to earn $500 a day doing work that active judges are paid for, and failing to file their Oath of Office allows the retirees to earn that cool five-spot while also receiving their state or county retirement monies. Pretty sweet deal if you play golf with the right old white men.
Criminal District Court No. 4 will see former prosecutor and police officer Sam Williams, a Democrat, run against Republican Andy Porters, a board-certified attorney who says on his website that “George Soros and his ilk will do their best to turn Tarrant County blue” without providing evidence, though it sounds good to us.
The Criminal County Court No. 5 race will be between Republican Brad Clark, a longtime attorney and former prosecutor, and Democrat Lisa Pamplin, herself a current lawyer and former police officer. The race for the county’s sixth criminal court is between Republican Randi Hartin, a former schoolteacher and prosecutor, and Democrat Ebony Turner, whose 20-year career as an attorney includes work drafting criminal law bills. The bid for County Court 7 will see Democrat MarQ Clayton, who owns and manages The Clayton Law Firm, run against former prosecutor and police officer Eric Starnes, a Republican.
Second Court of Appeals
In November, the seat for Place 3 at the Second Court of Appeals, which is based in Fort Worth and oversees 12 counties, will go to either Democrat Delonia Watson, a former prosecutor and Harvard School of Law graduate, or self-described “courageous conservative” Elizabeth Kerr, who actually brags about her support for the orange stain on humanity.
Justices of the Peace
Last fall, Jason Charbonnet was facing a formidable Democrat opponent, Kelicia Lyons. Charbonnet, the incumbent Republican Justice of the Peace for Precinct 6, appears to have resorted to lying, cheating, and stealing as a means of clinging to power.
As the country learned of an expansive investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into voter suppression in Texas, Charbonnet allegedly pressured white, conservative county commissioners Gary Fickes, J.D. Johnson, and county head Glen Whitley to work in secret with five white Republican JPs to draft a precinct map that stripped tens of thousands of ethnic minorities of their due representation and limited the ability of Tarrant County’s three ethnic minority JPs to be reelected in November.
The redrawn map adopted in November also cut Lyons out of Charbonnet’s Precinct 6. The desperate act may have been committed because Tarrant County’s white power base loses political clout by the day if not the hour. Around 95% of Texas’ 4 million new residents are non-white, according to new U.S. Census figures, and are presumably progressive-minded.
The 2020 Census revealed an 8.6% decrease in white representation across the country over the past decade, while the percentage of Americans who identify as multiracial increased by 276% to 33.8 million. Ethnicity remains a strong indicator of party affiliation. According to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank, only 8% of Blacks vote Republican while 63% of Hispanics and 72% of Asians vote Democrat.
Lyons has a true servant’s heart, and she did not allow the alleged vile acts of the five Republican JPs and three commissioners stop her from serving her community. In May, she was elected to Seat 7 of the Crowley school district’s board. She remains a powerful force for good in Tarrant County, and she will likely seek higher office, including the JP seat that was stolen from her, when the time is right.
A vote for Democrat JP candidates Jeca Williams (JP Precinct 2), Rodney Lee (JP Precinct 4), and Kenneth Sanders (JP Precinct 7) will be a vote against public corruption and for human decency.
Early voting for the Nov. 8 election runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4.
This article has been updated to correct the name of the Democrat running for district clerk.