Call it last minute. Call it 11th hour. Call it late in the game, or go ahead and say what took you so long? Whatever else you call it, call it an endorsement – an unequivocal, unambiguous, make-no-mistake-about-it endorsement:
The Business Press urges you to vote for Betsy Price in the Republican primary for Tarrant County Judge.
So, you might be wondering, why are we weighing in at this particular moment with our recommendation in this all-important primary race for the top position on the Tarrant County Commissioners Court, the county’s governing body?
For starters, because the race is so important. The commissioners court is the county equivalent of the city council in a municipality. The position of county judge isn’t a judgeship at all but rather a leadership/policymaking job similar to that of mayor of a big city. The county judge is, in effect, the mayor of Tarrant County.
Beyond that, we’re concerned about the effect of negative attacks against Price by one of her opponents. We presumed as this election season began that Price’s credentials and qualifications would be so obvious and undeniable that she would cruise to the Republican nomination for county judge and methodically move on to face the Democratic nominee in November.
We still believe she will win and we will be stunned if she doesn’t. But we have watched in dismay as one of her opponents on the Republican ballot, former Republican county chairman Tim O’Hare, has conducted a disgraceful, disgustingly dishonest campaign against Price in a relentless effort to distort her unparalleled record of accomplishment as one of the most dedicated public officials ever to serve Fort Worth and Tarrant County. As the campaign draws to a close, we are hearing political observers speculate that the barrage of negative TV and direct mail advertising has created enough turmoil in the race that Price could find herself in a runoff against the perpetrator of the attacks.
We won’t dignify O’Hare’s lies, cheap shots and political-fringe catchphrases by repeating them here – and they wouldn’t be news to anyone if we did. Everyone has heard or seen them over and over again, if not from O’Hare then from a endless string of other cringeworthy characters representing not the proud Republican Party that has played such a pivotal role in the politics and governance of our state and country but a band of self-serving, bigoted blowhards serving only their tedious dedication to the promulgation of harebrained ideas and crackpot theories.
Betsy Price, of course, is a longtime member in good standing of the Grand Old Party that became the dominant force in Texas politics by espousing time-honored conservative ideals and policies, including low taxes, support of public safety, and transparency at every level of government. She stepped down as Fort Worth’s longest-serving mayor last year after winning five consecutive two-year terms. Before that she served all of Tarrant County as the county’s elected Tax Assessor/Collector, a job requiring extensive administrative skills and a deep commitment to fairness and public accountability.
Residents not just of Fort Worth and Tarrant County but across North Texas and beyond are well aware of Price’s remarkable record of leadership at City Hall, her forward-looking, clearheaded decision-making on the most difficult issues facing a growing, diverse, dynamic municipality. She excelled in a job that is always a focus of intense public scrutiny and can often be the hottest hot seat in all of local government.
She is indisputably the most qualified candidate in this primary and she deserves the vote of every conscientious citizen who cares about good government.
Unfortunately, voter turnout as we entered the final days of early voting appeared to be even lower than usual – and turnout is traditionally dismal for primary elections. That means primary races such as the contentious contest for county judge could be decided by a relative handful of highly motivated voters who are less interested in selecting the best-qualified candidates than in supporting individuals who represent ideas and viewpoints that have nothing to do with governance or public service.
So here we are, weighing in at the last minute, the 11th hour, to urge responsible voters to get out today or on Election Day next Tuesday and vote for Betsy Price in the Republican primary for county judge. And while you’re at it, take a long, hard look at all the races on the ballot and make sure you’re voting for a qualified candidate, not some sloganeering cheap-shot artist promoting a brand of politics that no responsible citizen could ever support.