Dallas County Democratic Party chair Darlene Ewing said it's her party's "belief and suspicion" that Republican Danny Clancy's reported theft of four tires from his Ford Expedition on Thursday was a "stunt," adding that there's a racial connotation to Clancy's suggestion that District Attorney Craig Watkins or his campaign was involved.
"That was my first response, honestly," she said at a press conference held at party headquarters near Fair Park this morning. "Wait a minute. If Mr. Watkins was white, would they try to insinuate that tire thieves were associated with him? You gotta ask yourself that."
Although she admitted that she has no proof that the theft was illegitimate, Ewing said she wouldn't have made a similar allegation against Clancy "without actual facts" had Watkins' tires been stolen. And despite making several references to the "considerate" thieves for putting the tires on blocks, she refused to directly blame Clancy, his consultant or the Dallas County Republican Party.
"I'm not going to accuse him of having somebody jack up his car for him and politely take his tires off," she said. "I'm just saying, either direction, when you try to accuse Mr. Watkins of having anything to do with it if it's a legitimate theft, that is outrageous in and of itself."
Rather than simply let the story die, Ewing said she received a lot of e-mail about the issue and became angry as she thought about "the connection to Mr. Watkins," who was not in attendance and hasn't spoken to her about the incident, according to Ewing. Kurt Watkins, Craig's cousin and campaign manager, was on hand putting up re-election signs.
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"Sometimes you have to take and stand and say, 'This is enough. We're not going to put up with this anymore.'" Ewing said.
When asked what statement Clancy made directly implicating Watkins, Ewing claimed that Clancy "said it was Mr. Watkins or his supporters."
"He talked about how his daughter was upset because he thinks he's being targeted by Mr. Watkins and or his supporters, so he definitely tried to make the connections," she said.
Ewing was joined "to express our support for Craig Watkins" by State District Judge Ernie White and Dallas County Judge Angela King, Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, judicial candidates Dale Tillery and James Martin, and precinct chairs Shirley Brown and Edna Pemberton.