The Dallas County Republican Party dropped something of a bombshell Tuesday on the campaign of Robert Miklos, the Democrat challenging incumbent Ken Sheets for Texas House District 107, covering East Dallas and slivers of Mesquite and Garland. Party chairman Wade Emmert sent a phone message to voters -- and an email blast to reporters -- charging that Miklos was paying convicted felons to canvass neighborhood on behalf of his campaign.
Emmert's conclusion? "Robert Miklos is so desperate that he is endangering our families and children."
Whether Miklos' employees actually pose a threat to "families and children" is a matter of debate, since none of them is a violent offender. What's incontrovertible is that Miklos, per his own campaign filings, has employed several convicted felons. The GOP helpfully provides links to county court records and criminal background searches that detail their crimes.
Some are relatively minor. Adrian Vargas, for example was convicted on a misdemeanor drunk driving charge six years ago. Another, Alex Wusk, hasn't been convicted of anything but was arrested in June for possessing less than a gram of a controlled substance.
Then there's Jeremy Fuller, a.k.a. Cue Ball, who's been convicted on a handful of drug charges, criminal trespassing, theft and felony DWI. Rodney Choice has a similarly long rap sheet, though with fewer drugs and more theft. Margaret Cortez, meanwhile, has been busted for burglary, theft and prostitution on multiple occasions.
Miklos contends in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that it Emmert and the GOP who feel the election slipping from their grasp.
"This is obviously a desperate dirty trick by the Republicans," Miklos said. "We have not received one complaint from any one about our canvassers, most of whom, were recruited from local community colleges. We are reviewing our records of our current employees. If any were convicted of a violent crime, we will let them go immediately."
As mentioned none of the crimes the GOP dug up were violent, but it certainly doesn't look good for Miklos, who probably should have been more careful about whom sent knocking on doors. These were people who were paid for their work, and it doesn't take tremendous effort or expense to perform cursory criminal background checks on people you employ. The other option is to rely on volunteers who, by virtue of being unpaid, won't show up on campaign filings for the GOP to run through a criminal database.