Much like everyone else in Dallas media, I received a call this morning from Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman, who told me that Danny Clancy awoke to find his SUV on blocks with its tires stolen. Already aware that his wife Julie, a Dallas municipal court judge, had her tires slashed twice recently, and that a yard sign for Craig Watkins had been placed in his yard, I had a pretty good idea who Clancy thought was behind all this.
I was on my way in to the office. Figured I'd pull off the Dallas North Tollway and stop by.
When I arrived, two camera crews were on hand, and a Dallas police officer showed up shortly afterward, around 9:15. "Is this gonna be on TV?" the officer asked. "Yup," one of the camera guys told him, and the cop quickly darted back into his car. Strangely, he waited for the media to finish up with our interviews before talking with Clancy. An awkward scene to say the least.
Not wanting to hold up official police bidness, I waited until the two discussed what happened and spoke with Clancy afterward. He said he believes the tire slashings of his wife's car took place at the municipal court building -- though, he added later, it could have happened at the house, "slow leak" and whatnot -- and said that another tire was damaged by a screw recently. "I guess it was a coincidence," he said of the screw.
However, Clancy insisted the two slashings and today's incident are related. "It's either somebody in [Watkins's] camp or it's his failed policies that have allowed my family to be victimized on three separate occasions in the last two weeks. When it happens this many times in such a short period of time, I just don't think it's a coincidence. I do think we're being targeted."
Watkins's camp strongly disagrees.
Kurt Watkins, Craig's cousin and campaign manager, calls the incident a "desperate political stunt."
"I may be young and naïve, but if I walked out and saw my car missing wheels, my first inclination would be to call the police, call my insurance provider or get new tires, not call the media," he tells Unfair Park.
Update at 2:55 p.m.: Kurt just sent us a press release.
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Clancy Stoops to New Low with Staged Political Stunts
Dallas (October 7) - The Craig Watkins Campaign is calling on its opponent's campaign to stop playing dirty politics and run a campaign that tells voters the truth. Smear tactics and stunts are not honest to voters.
During the campaign, District Attorney Watkins has been followed by Republican operatives, his record has been compromised by grimy attacks orchestrated by his opponent's supporters and now his opponent's campaign is insuating some horrible lies.
What is the newest lie? Read more here.
Who is supporting Danny Clancy? Read more here.
The Craig Watkins Campaign is committed to talking to voters in Dallas County about District Attorney Watkins' 99.4 percent felony conviction rate, reduction in crime and conviction intregrity unit, which was highlighted on Larry King, last night, for it work to free the innocent and convict the guilty.
Clancy said the theft was motivated by his 2 p.m. meeting with the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News and stressed that while his wife is "strong," his children have been affected, with his daughter Kylie so distraught that she cried on her way to school this morning.
"The kids are upset because they think their dad is targeted and getting hurt by somebody," he said.
Update 2: Neerman sends us this pic of a Dallas County Republican Party intern dressed in the now infamous chicken suit outside The Dallas Morning News this afternoon, where he awaited the arrival of Watkins while sitting atop cinder blocks.