By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Bipartisan: Nothing whets our political appetite like rumors of alliances between Republicans and Democrats during election season. So when we heard that Republican Dallas County Commissioner Ken Mayfield was helping Democratic candidate Beth Villarreal in her campaign against Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes, Buzz thought we'd won the lotto.
A high-profile GOP member backs a Democrat? What the effin' eff?
Mayfield confirmed he's gathered volunteers to help walk precincts in support of Villarreal. The April 13 primary runoff election between Villarreal and Cortes is between a Democrat and "a corrupt politician," Mayfield says, and he's only involved because there's no Republican opponent for the winner to face in November. Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman agrees with Mayfield's reasoning. (For the record, Cortes has not been indicted for anything.)
"I don't want the corrupt politician being in there either," he says. "And, if the only way to get rid of Constable Cortes is through the primary, then I wish Ms. Villarreal all the success in the world."
Neerman reminded us of Democratic Commissioner John Wiley Price's endorsement of Republican County Judge Margaret Keliher in 2006, so we reminded him that Price had worked with Keliher for four years, and Mayfield had this to say when we asked how well he knows Villarreal: "I don't know her. I just know she's not Cortes."
"Huh. Well, yeah," Neerman replied. "I'm not the one endorsing her. I assume Ken has good reasons for doing it."
Neerman claimed Villarreal "has to be better than Cortes." Buzz reminded him that everyone probably said the same thing when the commissioners appointed Cortes to replace ousted Constable Mike Dupree.
"Um, I wasn't county chairman back then," he said.
We wanted to hear from Villarreal but were told she was unavailable. David Morris, co-manager and treasurer of her campaign, emphatically denied Mayfield's involvement until we told him that we had heard it directly from Mayfield. Morris paused and asked to call us back.
Morris later admitted that Mayfield had recruited volunteers via e-mail on his own. He added that other Republicans offered assistance that was denied, but he refused to name names.
A couple minutes after the call, Morris called back to say that supposedly none of those Republican volunteers had logged any hours yet.
See, this is why we love these unlikely bedfellows so much. Both sides end up looking like two people stumbling out of bed with hangovers wondering how they got themselves into this mess.