GOP Senate hopefuls attack each other, Dewhurst on Inside Texas Politics

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 8:27 PM

DALLAS - Early voting begins Monday for the May 29 primary election, which includes the Republican race for U.S. Senate.

Three of those candidates will appear on Inside Texas Politics Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on Channel 8 and their attacks on one another and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst are sharpening.

The fight is fierce to face the frontrunner Dewhurst in a possible runoff.

He declined to appear on Inside Texas Politics, following his trend not to show up for most joint candidate events.

But former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, former ESPN analyst Craig James and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz agreed.

And then they differed on experience, records and style while explaining their opposition to gay marriage.

Cruz cited a 2003 Beaumont case of two gay men joined by civil union in another state who wanted a divorce that he worked on in the state attorney general's office.

"I'm the only one here today that has a proven record of actually standing up fighting for traditional marriage," he said.

But Leppert accused Cruz of hypocrisy and taking credit for decisions actually made by Attorney General Greg Abbott.

"Now that was a case that they weren't in charge of, but then what they fail to tell you is, in an aborted run for attorney general, they received a quarter-of-a-million dollars from the gay activist who was leading the fight for gay marriage in California."

Texas campaign finance records show Cruz took a total of $251,220 from magnate and gay activist Peter Thiel in 2009 while raising money for a run as state attorney general.

Cruz didn't directly respond to the donation charge but did fire back, "Both Tom Leppert and David Dewhurst talk a good game, but both of them have raised taxes."

Leppert did vote in 2007 to raise the Dallas tax rate in his first budget as mayor.

James, with no government experience, says he's the non-politician.

"Why a lot of people are calling our campaign, coming over to our campaign, [is] because we're not getting in the ditch with the mud," he said.

But Dewhurst will be the one stuck in a runoff if he can't win the primary outright.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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