There are five candidates vying to the Democratic nominee for the US Senate this year. Among these, we only find three to be legitimate Democratic candidates in even the most basic definition of the term. Harry Kim, a physician from Odessa, has campaigned a negligible amount and did not return requests for comment from us or any other news outlet. Kesha Rogers, an activist affiliated with the Lyndon LaRouche movement, is a Democrat in only name. Make no mistake, we do not use that term lightly, nor in any hyperbolic manner whatsoever. The LaRouche movement openly compares President Obama to Adolf Hitler, believes the financial industry (and the world) is controlled by a malevolent cartel of Wall Street bankers and is openly sympathetic to anti-American regimes such as Russia and Iran. We cannot express enough how strongly we urge you to vote against both Kim and Rogers, particularly the latter.
This elimination leaves us with three candidates: David Alameel, Michael Fjetland and Maxey Scherr. Alameel, a dental mogul from the Dallas area, has wowed many throughout the State with his large fortune (over $50 Million) and his willingness to spend it on a political campaign. Indeed, prominent Democrats such as State Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte has supported him. But, in this board’s opinion, something just does not add up about Alameel. He has an unfortunate history of donating thousands upon thousands of dollars to prominent Republicans, including the incumbent in this election (John Cornyn). He has been accused multiple times of harboring anti-abortion rights political views on the campaign trail. Finally, in a recent TV ad he unveiled, Alameel announced his belief that our overseas wars should be drawn back. That position would be ripe for a campaign, perhaps if the year was 2008. As both the Iraq War is over and the final troops are in the process of leaving Afghanistan, we do not see the point in such an ad. Oddly enough, Alameel has not focused on many other issues with much specificity.
The issue of Republican affiliated in the past, however, is not what specifically irks us about Alameel. We contrast his behavior with that of Michael Fjetland, who ran in Republican primaries against Tom DeLay multiple times in past years. Fjetland, then a moderate Republican, sought to repudiate extremism from the ranks of his party. When this attempt proved unsuccessful, he became an independent, and now a moderate Democrat. Activists within the Democratic party would be exceedingly unwise to remain categorically hostile to newly welcomed Democrats. Call us old fashioned, but we think purity tests always stink. Especially when contrasted by Alameel’s giving history, which denotes not a change of political association in good faith, but a dilettante who attempts to straddle both sides in an attempt to simply gain access.
Finally, we are left with Maxey Scherr. An attorney out of El Paso, Scherr has been running this race as an unabashed liberal. She has asked for ambitious goals in both constricting economic inequality and advancing a progressive agenda. Be that raising the minimum wage or openly embracing same-sex marriage, she has been the hands-on favorite of activist groups from around the State. However, this board has big concerns about the style and effectiveness of her campaign. From poorly-written press releases to poor campaign organization, we have doubts about if her campaign is ready for prime time, so to speak. Of course, we certainly believe the same thing about Fjetland and, to a lesser extent, Alameel.
However, in addition to these concerns, we have been saddened to see Scherr seemingly focus on everyone in this race but the actual incumbent. Her first commercial largely honed in on Sen. Ted Cruz and –while honorable in intention– failed to place enough of an emphasis on who she actually was running against. She has promulgated the controversy over Alameel’s giving history, sometimes with rather misleading logic.
We think Michael Fjetland represents the best candidate of the bunch. Despite being an ostensibly moderate Democrat, he has been quick to embrace many pet causes of progressives around the State. Like Scherr, he is a big supporter of same-sex marriage. However, beyond any of the other candidates, he has openly gone on the record to support the legalization of marijuana. Aside from policy, we believe Fjetland –who has a long history as both an attorney and an international analyst– would be by far the best qualified for the many diverse responsibilities of the United States Senate.
Whoever wins the primary will face an uphill challenge against a Republican, and will most likely lose. Some may place the highest emphasis on those candidates most likely to win. Some place that emphasis on the most ideological. We place it on who the best candidates is–which we believe is Michael Fjetland.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans.