Words matter, especially to candidates during an election. And sometimes what matters the most are not the promises that the candidate makes to different audiences, but what they’re caught saying when they think no one else is listening. It made all the difference in 2012, that’s for sure.
For one Republican hopeful up in the Big D, we’re about to find out what his ‘hot mic’ moment does for him. Here’s more on the bombshell from Gromer Jeffers Jr. of the Dallas Morning News…
Republican Ron Natinsky hopes residents in a southern Dallas congressional district “spend their food stamp money” on Election Day, instead of voting.
Natinsky, a candidate for Dallas County Judge, made the remark last November during a meeting of the Coppell Republican Club. His comments appear at around the 40:24 mark on the video.
“We don’t want to motivate her voters,” Natinsky said. “What we want them to think is ‘There’s no reason. She doesn’t have an opponent. I don’t need to go to the polls. I’ll go spend my food stamp money at the grocery store, or whatever, you know, on Election Day.’”
Johnson’s district is made up overwhelmingly of minority voters, and she is the first black lawmaker elected from North Texas. Her district supported the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama at a higher rate than any in the country, Johnson has said.
Natinsky is running for county judge against incumbent Democrat Clay Jenkins. Since Republicans in Dallas County generally fare better in mid-term elections than contests in presidential election years, the race for county judge could be competitive.
So in his appearance at the Coppell Republican Club, Natinsky urged fellow Republicans not a slate a candidate against Johnson because it would hurt the chances of other Republicans on the ballot.
That’s because Johnson, one of the most influential elected officials in North Texas, is in a heavily Democratic district, where it is virtually impossible for a Republican candidate to win. Natinsky theorizes that if Johnson is unopposed in the general election, she would not mount a serious campaign and base Democrats would not vote.
“We don’t need another five of ten thousand of her people going to the polls,” Natinsky said.
You can also watch the video over at DMN.
There’s no denying that Natinsky’s comments are offensive and racist. We all know who has talking about when he says “food stamp voters”.
But the even bigger story here? He revealed that the Texas GOP uses gerrymandering to not only ensure party control in certain races, but to depress overall voter turnout as well.
Basically it works like this… voters pay more attention when there is a contested race, for a variety of reasons. The two candidates spend more money on TV ads and signs, they knock on more doors and make more phone calls, and of voters get to hear both sides of the issue instead of just one. As a result, turnout is generally going to be higher in a competitive district because there is more interest in the ballot. But if the district is not competitive, voters have little reason to wonder about, or influence the results of the race. That means that voters are more likely to stay home, and not make their voices heard for other races. If Congresswoman Johnson had an opponent, it would motivate turnout for her race, but many of those same voters would likely support candidates like Clay Jenkins, Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis.
So there you have it. Ron Natinsky and other Republicans know this for a fact.. if more people voted, Texas would be a competitive state. If you ever had any doubt about this, go ahead and put it to rest.
And please VOTE. Let’s use Natinsky’s comments as motivation to make sure that he loses his race.