Ag Comm Race : The Statesman vs. The DMN

We discussed the pathetic reporting out of the DMN Tuesday, but yesterday’s mess was even worse. Jessica Myers, the intrepid reporter covering the Democratic primary race for Commissioner of Agriculture (and whose last beat was Frisco ISD, no joke), ain’t the sharpest in the world. In fact, her irrational slant in the race (Friedman vs. Gilbert) has been surprising to many of us who were actually starting to like the DMN again. Here’s the piece that caught my eye today…

“It should be an interesting and new experience for him to endorse a Democrat,” said campaign adviser Mike Lavigne in the statement. He accused Friedman of previously endorsing Republicans George W. Bush, Lamar Smith and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Actually, Jessica, it wasn’t an accusation. It’s documented fact, much like Kinky calling Katrina evacuees in Houston ‘a bunch of crackdealers and thugs’. Be slanted all you want, the rest of us know the truth and understand that, on balance, you’re not doing a great job even for a blogger.
Compare and contrast that with Asher Price at the Statesman.

Friedman says he has no plans to square off against Gilbert.
“My heart’s not in an intramural battle between Democrats,” said Friedman, who has won endorsements from former Democratic agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower and The Dallas Morning News.

Which, I suppose, is why his campaign sends out nasty, almost daily blasts about Hank.

But after running for governor as an independent in 2006, Friedman might have a hard time persuading most Democrats to vote for him.
“I don’t think Kinky Friedman will ultimately be taken seriously because people do not seriously see him as agricultural commissioner,” said Ed Martin, former director of the Texas Democratic Party, who said he is not working for either campaign.
Gilbert, a rancher, is “obviously qualified,” said Martin, and Democrats have a “better opportunity (in the general election) with somebody who could seriously address the issues with the office.”
Some Democrats want nothing to do with Friedman, who they say acted as a spoiler for Democratic candidate Chris Bell in 2006 and appears to be a self-promoter.
“He likes dogs more than he likes people in Kerr County,” Marguerite Jones, an Austinite who lived in Kerr County, said at a confab of local Democrats at Scholz Garten in January. “He changes with the winds. He’s a personality, but he’s not a candidate. He’s a character. He’s not serious.”
Gilbert said he’s concentrating on a general election with Staples, who, he says “has trimmed down the agency till things are falling into cracks.”

In one piece, the Statesman better captured this race than the DMN has with articles and almost daily blog posts. It all comes down to this… an incompetent comedian who is busy selling books, cigars and salsa vs a rancher who has spent his entire professional life in Agriculture. A non-Democrat running in the Democratic primary vs a life long Democrat. A man who will depress Democratic turnout in November vs a man with a proven track record of rallying Democrats and pulling in Independents and moderate Republicans, in every corner of the state.
That’s the story. Only an asshat could miss it.

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