There are 11 candidates in the crowded Democratic primary for the new congressional district spanning from Oak Cliff to Fort Worth, but the race is quickly sinking into a political pissing match involving just two as the May 29 primary approaches.
Marc Veasey, a state representative from Fort Worth, and Domingo Garcia, a longtime activist who has served on the Dallas City Council and in the Legislature, have been trading blows on almost daily.
This morning, Veasey held a news conference and photo op with former Democratic Congressman Martin Frost in front of the General Motors plant in Arlington to blast Garcia for saying the company's SUVs are "not good for America," that the management of American Airlines is reprehensible, and that Garcia wouldn't defend F-35 Joint Strike Fighter projects to save jobs at Lockheed Martin.
To which Garcia preemptively responded (his words, not mine) "Shame on Mark Veasey and Martin Frost!" The pair are simply doing the bidding of their corporate bosses, Garcia wrote. And: "Candidates who are behind usually get desperate and start making false charges."
Unspooling somewhat more slowly is the tit-for-tat over an endorsement of Garcia by the Reverend Joseph Lowery, a civil rights icon who co-founded, with Martin Luther King Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Veasey sent out a two-paragraph press release expressing regret that Lowery was backing Garcia, and that was that. Except is wasn't, because yesterday, Garcia reminded us with a tweet:
Last week, one of Domingo Garcia's opponents dismissed civil rights icon Dr. Joseph E. Lowery as "senile." Watch for Dr. Lowery's response.— garciaforcongress (@garciacongress) May 15, 2012
Senile? Hmm. I reread Veasey's release to see if I'd missed something:
Rev. Lowery is a hero of the civil rights movement and his contribution to our country is enormous. That being said, I don't think he has been briefed very well about this race or about North Texas or about the candidates running in Congressional District 33. There is only one candidate is this race who fought to make sure that the Voting Rights Act was enforced for minorities everywhere in the District and that was me. Domingo Garcia in fact ended up cutting a bad bargain with the Republicans that hurt minority voters all over Texas. I doubt that Rev. Lowery is aware of this. So I welcome Rev. Lowery to North Texas, I look forward to being able to talk to him as a member of Congress to seek his good counsel and share with him our challenges here in North Texas.
Sure, Veasey implies that the 90-year-old Lowery isn't terribly well-informed about the race, but mostly he's taking jabs at Garcia. I didn't see the word "senile" anywhere, so I called up the Veasey campaign to see if Veasey had dropped the s-bomb on another occasion.
"I'm fairly sure that he did not," said Anthony Gutierrez, a campaign spokesman.
Maybe Veasey had said something ("see the Nile"? "denial"?) that Garcia had misunderstood.
Nope. Garcia said the tweet was a response to Veasey's email about Lowery's endorsement.
"I just found it a little shocking that my opponent would go after an icon of the civil rights movement like that," Garcia told Unfair Park Wednesday. Veasey may not have actually used the word "senile," but "that's the way Reverend Lowery took it," he said.
So maybe when he put the quotation marks around it in that first tweet, he was actually quoting Lowery, and not Veasey? Because Lowery most definitely says senile.
Dr. Joseph E. Lowery: "I may be viewed as senile by Marc Veasey and I'm sorry that he feels that way." The full quote: x.co/kEGd— garciaforcongress (@garciacongress) May 15, 2012
There are no hard polling numbers on the race, but The Dallas Morning News' political writer Gromer Jeffers thinks the race will come down to a two-person runoff, and Veasey and Garcia seem likely to be the last two standing.
That means this thing could go on beyond May 29, which just makes it all the more important to focus on the real issues, like who has the coolest yard signs.