Tom Leppert attacks Ted Cruz for accepting $250K from gay Republican donor Peter Thiel

Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, second from right, schmoozes with gay Republican leader Rob Schlein, far left, during a holiday party at Schlein's home in 2009. Also pictured are, from left, Schlein's mother Shirley, Leppert's wife Laura, and Schlein's partner David Keeton.

As you may recall, tea-bagging former solicitor general Ted Cruz has repeatedly attacked former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert for twice appearing in the city’s gay Pride parade. Cruz and Leppert are battling for second place and a spot in a runoff alongside Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

In the past, Leppert has defended his decision to appear at Pride by saying he was merely doing what Jesus would do — embracing all groups. But now it looks like Leppert has dropped the peaceful, Christ-like approach and is acting more like the pissed-off God from the Old Testament.

According to WFAA’s Brad Watson, in a segment recorded for Sunday’s Inside Texas Politics, Leppert returned Cruz’s anti-gay fire by slamming the former solicitor general for accepting a quarter-million dollars from gay Republican donor Peter Thiel while raising money for an aborted campaign for attorney general in 2009. Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, is also the top donor to the national gay conservative group GOProud.

From WFAA:

Cruz cited a 2003 Beaumont case of two gay men joined by civil union in another state who wanted a divorce that he worked on in the state attorney general’s office.

“I’m the only one here today that has a proven record of actually standing up fighting for traditional marriage,” he said.

But Leppert accused Cruz of hypocrisy and taking credit for decisions actually made by Attorney General Greg Abbott.

“Now that was a case that they weren’t in charge of, but then what they fail to tell you is, in an aborted run for attorney general, they received a quarter-of-a-million dollars from the gay activist who was leading the fight for gay marriage in California.”

Texas campaign finance records show Cruz took a total of $251,220 from magnate and gay activist Peter Thiel in 2009 while raising money for a run as state attorney general.

Cruz didn’t directly respond to the donation charge but did fire back, “Both Tom Leppert and David Dewhurst talk a good game, but both of them have raised taxes.”

While Leppert’s attempt to turn the anti-gay tables on Cruz is an interesting strategy, it could also be viewed as hypocritical. Let’s not forget that in  addition to appearing at Pride as mayor, Leppert hired an openly gay chief of staff and regularly schmoozed with gay Republicans himself. The above photo shows Leppert at a 2009 holiday party at the home of Rob Schlein, who then headed the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans and now heads the local GOProud affiliate.

However, both Cruz and Leppert know that in a statewide Texas GOP primary, anti-gay rhetoric stills plays well with voters. So it isn’t surprising that we’re seeing another round of it before early voting begins Monday, especially in the wake of President Barack Obama’s decision to come out in support of same-sex marriage.

Watch a video clip of the exchange between Leppert and Cruz below. The full Inside Texas Politics airs at 9 a.m. Sunday.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Fort Worth mayoral candidates discuss the issues — but not LGBT ones


WFAA Channel 8  over the weekend hosted a debate — well, they call it a debate but it is, to me, more of a question-and-answer session — with the five candidates campaigning to succeed eight-year Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, who is not running for re-election.

The debate, moderated by Channel 8′s Brad Watson and Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy, is a little over 20 minutes long and features the candidates answering questions on topics like the city’s budget, urban oil drilling and the city’s pension and benefits plans. Despite the fact that LGBT issues have played a very prominent part in Fort Worth city politics over the last 18 months, neither Watson nor Kennedy asked the candidates any LGBT-related issues.

Still, if you live in Fort Worth, then you most likely care what the candidates have to say on the issues they did discuss. So I am posting the video here. (I live in Fort Worth, by the way, and I do care about the issues.)

The candidates are former city council members Cathy Hirt and Jim Lane, former state Rep. Dan Barrett, current Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price and filmmaker Nicholas Zebrun.

—  admin

Eddie Bernice Johnson at Stonewall Democrats, and The DMN’s big Stephen Broden cover-up

We’ve had some difficulty posting the above clip of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson speaking at Stonewall Democrats of Dallas on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Then again, if we had posted it last week as originally intended, we wouldn’t have been able to talk about Republican challenger Stephen Broden’s comments two days later saying that a violent overthrow of the government is “on the table” if this year’s elections don’t produce a change in leadership in Washington. Broden, a member of the Tea Party, told WFAA-TV reporter Brad Watson that a violent overthrow is “not the first option,” but is “on the table.”

“We have a constitutional remedy,” Broden told Watson. “And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

Doesn’t Broden, who’s African-American, realize that if the Tea Party were to take over, racial minorities would be in serious danger? The sad thing is, many in the Tea Party likely agree with Broden. What’s also sad is that The Dallas Morning News had endorsed Broden.

Well, a day later Broden backed away from his comments, and The DMN retracted its endorsement. “In 2010, the only way to bring about change is through the ballot box,” Broden insisted.

The DMN went on to say that its editorial board had decided to withdraw its recommendation of Broden in the race against Johnson, and instead was making no endorsement. Do you mean to tell us that they just now discovered that Broden is a total nutjob? Check out this passage from The DMN’s story:

As Broden’s interview drew more attention, other details of his background emerged Friday.

He confirmed having been arrested in May 2009 outside the White House. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, he was praying in a restricted area and was cited for failing to obey a lawful order.

Broden said he was doing so on the National Day of Prayer to protest President Barack Obama’s decision not to mark the day with a public ceremony.

After a series of warnings, Broden and another pastor were arrested. They were released after paying a small fine – “less than $100,” he said.

Wait a second, do you mean to say that The DMN hadn’t been aware that a candidate for MAJOR office has an arrest record? The newspaper conducts backgrounds checks on all candidates, from Congress to school board, but they hadn’t discovered this? Give me a break. They’ve known about it for a long time, but they chose to withhold it from their readers because they supported Broden.

All you have to do is Google Broden’s name and you’ll come up with several stories about his arrest for praying outside the White House during the National Day of Prayer in 2009, in protest of President Barack Obama’s decision not to participate in the event. According to the stories we found about Broden’s arrest, he told the media that one of the reasons for the protest was his opposition to gay marriage:

“We prayed that God would either stay the hand of judgment or quicken the hearts of men and women of faith for them to recognize that they need to come to the streets, they need to come to the public square and make it clear that we are not in favor of same-sex marriage, we are not in favor of this scourge … [of abortion], we are not in favor of the kind of trickery and gamesmanships that are being played in the house of Congress and the house of the Senate. We are fed up, and we are tired of what this nation is doing and what our leaders are doing relative to their role and responsibility for protecting our freedoms.”

—  John Wright