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Email Snafu Inadvertently Leaks Attack Ad in HD-8 Race

Also, a couple of new names surface in a pair of South Texas political consultants and the spat continues between Ted Cruz and the ethanol lobby over subsidies.

State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, on the House floor, May 7, 2015.

A rival campaign mistakenly revealed its plans Wednesday for an attack ad against state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana.  

Cook is facing a challenge from Corsicana businessman Thomas McNutt in House District 8. McNutt's political consultant, Luke Macias, is also working for state Rep. David Simpson of Longview in the Republican primary to replace state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler. 

In an email to reporters on behalf of Simpson's campaign, Macias inadvertently attached a script for the ad, which appears to feature the father of a 15-year-old boy who killed himself last year in Cook's district. In the spot, the dad accuses Cook, the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, of being an impediment to the passage of a suicide prevention bill during the most recent legislative session.

The legislation passed and with enough of a majority that it became immediately effective after the governor signed the legislation. 

The father says in the script: "Seeing the political process will make anyone sick, but I can tell you I saw Byron Cook for what he is, a self-centered politician who doesn’t care about the end result. He just wants the credit."

After the script surfaced, McNutt's campaign announced the endorsement of the dad, a Fairfield coach named Kevin Childers. McNutt's campaign touted the endorsement as especially notable because Childers was recently featured in a newsletter Cook sent to constituents. 

“Representative Cook’s arrogance nearly cost us the passage of the bill," Childers said in a news release. "After meeting with Thomas McNutt several times, I’m convinced that he is the right choice for the voters of Freestone County. Thomas will put his constituents above his self-interest and pride, unlike the current incumbent."


Mission Realtor Dolly Elizondo announced Thursday her candidacy for the Congressional District 15 seat that is open following the announcement from Ruben Hinojosa that he is not running for re-election.

Elizondo was the first woman to be elected to lead the Hidalgo County Democratic Party and she would be the first Texas Latina in Congress if elected, according to her campaign.

Texas Weekly noted last month that EMILY’s List, a political action committee that helps elect pro-choice Democratic women to office, has already signaled interest in becoming involved in the race.


There's a new name in the running for the South Texas HD-40 seat.

The Hidalgo County Young Republicans reported that Maricela De León, a former chief of staff for state Rep. Aaron Peña, announced her candidacy during a stop at the KURV radio station. 

The seat is currently held by Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.


GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is receiving a boost from a prominent Texas Republican as she rolls out her top policy proposals. 

Former Comptroller Susan Combs on Wednesday was among the Fiorina supporters touting her Blueprint To Take Our Country Back, which calls for overhauling the tax code, repealing Obamacare and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group, among other things. 

Combs said in a statement: “I’m sure more people will see that Carly is presidential material as they look at her blueprint. She’s laid out a course for our economy, foreign policy and federal government. Carly has specific ideas on how to unlock the potential of this nation. There is no better leader for the Oval Office than Carly Fiorina, and her blueprint is more proof of that.”

The former comptroller is leading the Texas leadership team for CARLY For America, a super PAC working to elect the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. The team includes more than two dozen other Texas Republicans backing Fiorina, an Austin native.


Ted Cruz's campaign presidential continues to wrangle with Iowa's ethanol lobby two days after a renewable fuels group launched an attack ad against him.

The U.S. senator from Texas is taking heat from the organization, America's Renewable Future, for his opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which sets a minimum amount of biofuels that must be blended into the gasoline supply. The group is calling the GOP candidate a hypocrite for wanting to get rid of the standard while preserving oil subsidies; Cruz's campaign wants the ad taken down, arguing that it's false because he supports eliminating all energy subsidies.

The proof is in Cruz's tax proposals, his campaign said Thursday. 

"We appreciate America's Renewable Future's focus on fairness and market competition and welcome their endorsement of Ted Cruz's Simple Flat Tax Plan which eliminates all energy subsidies, specifically the ones America's Renewable Future seems to find so offensive," Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said in a statement.

The latest response from the Cruz campaign came a day after America's Renewable Future dug in its heels on the ad, saying it does not plan to yank it. The group claimed Cruz is misrepresenting the extent of his commitment to nixing oil subsidies, noting he "personally introduced legislation to repeal the RFS, but none to repeal the billions in subsidies to the oil industry."

"This attempt is yet another example of Cruz lying to Iowans, only this time he’s been caught," read a statement from Eric Branstad, the son of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad who is leading the pro-ethanol effort.


The Cruz campaign also on Thursday named more than 100 prominent backers in a state deep into the primary calendar: New Jersey. 

The 121 supporters include county chairs in all 21 counties in the Garden State, an organizational feat for the June 7 nominating contest. Cruz's campaign has already announced county chairs in all 171 counties that make up the first four early voting states.

Leading Cruz's efforts in New Jersey is Steve Lonegan, who is perhaps best known for his 2013 U.S. Senate campaign against Democrat Cory Booker. 


Cruz is returning to Iowa to unveil a group of supporters focused on gun rights. 

The Republican presidential candidate will announce his National 2nd Amendment Coalition on Friday at a gun range in Johnston, according to an email to supporters sent Tuesday. The invitation promises Cruz will be joined by "special guests as he discusses the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms."

The trip to Iowa, which also includes an appearance Sunday at FreedomWorks' Rising Tide Summit in Cedar Rapids, will be Cruz's seventh trek to the early voting state in eight straight weeks. He finished a three-day, 14-stop tour of Iowa on Monday night.

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