Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stefani Carter Struggles in Politics 101

Stefani Carter, the inexperienced, first-time candidate for Texas House District 102, has already stumbled more than once in her campaign to unseat incumbent Carol Kent. Earlier, Carter faced charges of padding her resume and plagiarizing from President Obama for her own campaign stump speech. Now, she's busy trying to explain away some more campaign missteps.

After the jump, still more resume padding and the endorsement that wasn't.

Stefani Carter's latest misstep is her claim to having been a "tough on crime" prosecutor in the Collin County District Attorney's office. It's probably no coincidence that Carter leaves the real details of her performance there off her campaign website. Lone Star Project has the details. Tidbit: her performance evaluation for winning cases rated 1 out of 3, the lowest performance evaluation possible ("Did Not Meet" objectives). It's probably no coincidence that she soon left that job -- to go to work for private attorneys who have now endorsed Carol Kent in this election. Embarrassing.

In another campaign gaffe, Carter trumpeted the endorsement of Garland Mayor Ronald Jones, only to find Jones releasing his own statement that he made no such endorsement. Doubly embarrassing. Ian McCann of The Dallas Morning News has the details. Tidbit: "In my role as the Mayor of Garland, I strongly believe it is not appropriate to get involved in partisan campaigns. My job is to advocate for the people of Garland, and not distract our mission with partisan rhetoric. I am not endorsing Stefani Carter in this race as reported in several media outlets, and will not make any endorsement in this, or any other partisan races." -- Ronald Jones.

Carter has only one thing going for her, but it's huge. It's that "R" after her name on the ballot. It's possible that with the brownie points that "R" awards her, she can flunk all the daily quizzes and still pass the final exam -- the November 2 election. If Carter can just lie low for another month, she'll ride GOP coattails all the way to Austin. But if more embarrassments about her dubious qualifications for office keep coming to light, voters might decide that what they liked about Carol Kent in 2008 are still things to like in 2010 -- like her efforts to strengthen public education, protect North Texas air quality, lower college tuition and utility rates and reform homeowners insurance.

In truth, Stefani Carter has more than just the "R" after her name going for her. She has also handed over her campaign to an experienced pro, Craig Murphy, who is identified as her campaign manager in The Dallas Morning News story. Murphy and his partner Chris Turner run the PR firm Murphy Turner Associates. Readers who have been paying attention remember Murphy Turner as the consulting firm behind the Richardson Coalition's infamous mailer before the 2009 Richardson City Council race that many thought was unfair and misleading to the point of dishonesty. FrontBurner links Chris Murphy not only to Stefani Carter's bumbling campaign, but to Garland's Joe Driver, the state legislator caught taking $17,000 from the state for expenses that had already been reimbursed by his campaign and to another case of plagiarism alleged in the 2008 campaign for Mesquite's House District 101. But then what would you expect from a PR firm that brags on its website of its award for "Best Use of Negative/Contrast"? Murphy Turner probably prefers attacking Carol Kent to cleaning up after Stefani Carter, but you have to work with the candidate you've got, not the candidate you want.

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