FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2012
Austin, TX—With the start of early voting today, Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) are warning Republican primary voters to beware of RINOs (“Republicans in Name Only”) and other imposters running in the Republican primary. The group points to former Representatives Tommy Merritt and Delwin Jones, who are attempting to regain seats they lost to conservative TEA party backed challengers in 2010, as examples of the danger conservative voters face in this election.
“When they were back in their home districts, Representatives Merritt and Jones used to pretend to be conservatives and Republicans. But when they got to Austin, their voting records were indistinguishable from those of their Democrat colleagues,” said Tony McDonald, YCT Senior Vice Chairman. “Conservative voters went to the polls in 2010 and got rid of these two RINOs and replaced them with true principled conservatives. But all of that progress can be lost if conservative voters do not turn out to ensure they do not regain their seats.”
Jones is running in House District 83 against Representative Charles Perry. Jones carried a career score of 58 with Young Conservatives of Texas during his tenure in the legislature. Perry, on the other hand, scored an 80 for the 82nd Texas Legislature, earning an honorable mention from YCT. Merritt scored even lower on the group’s ratings, with a 56 for his career. He was replaced in 2010 by Representative David Simpson, who earned YCT’s prestigious “Rookie of Year” award with a score of 91.
Merritt and Jones are not the only candidates YCT singles out as RINO’s. In West Texas, Senator Kel Seliger, who carries a career rating of 55 on YCT’s ratings of the Texas Legislature, is facing a primary challenge from YCT-endorsed candidate, Randy Rives. In the San Antonio area, Senator Jeff Wentworth, who, with a 42 for the 82nd Texas Legislature was the lowest scoring Republican in Texas, is being challenged by conservative former Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones. In East Texas, former Democrat Chuck Hopson is being challenged in the Republican primary for House District 11 by conservative Travis Clardy.
The group also points to the open-seat primary in the Fort Worth area House District 97 as another race in which voters should beware of a RINO imposter: Susan Todd. Todd has a record of voting in Democratic primaries, endorsed liberal Tony Sanchez in his campaign against Governor Rick Perry, and, as recently as 2009, cheered the passage of ObamaCare and supported the unconstitutional individual-mandate in her leadership of the American Medical Association Alliance. But now she is challenging YCT-backed conservative Craig Goldman in the Republican primary.
“In 2010, conservative finally got rid of RINOs Tommy Merritt and Delwin Jones,” said Jeff Morris, YCT State Chairman. “But conservatives should beware and make sure they go to the polls. Merritt and Jones are trying to return to office, and elsewhere in the state, imposters like Susan Todd are trying to get elected to imitate them. But we are optimistic that conservatives will look at the candidates’ records and endorsements and make the right choices. We have an opportunity to not only deny the return of these RINOs, but to get rid of a few more like Seliger, Hopson, and Wentworth.”
For more information about incumbents and their records, voters are encouraged to review YCT’s ratings of the Texas Legislature, available at www.yct.org/ratings. For a full list of YCT’s endorsements in the 2012 Republican Primary, voters may visit www.yct.org/endorsements.
Young Conservatives of Texas is a non-partisan organization that has promoted conservatism at universities across the Lone Star State for over three decades. The State’s most active political youth organization, YCT is composed of hundreds of members and alumni who participate in the full spectrum of politics. YCT issues the most respected ratings of the Texas legislature and is the only conservative group to have done so without interruption over the past 19 legislative sessions. For more information about YCT, please visit www.YCT.org.