Tire-maker in campaign ad talks, but not Dewhurst or Cruz




Posted on April 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 30 at 7:18 AM

The Texas Republican Senate primary is getting closer, and a new survey by Public Policy Polling — a Democratic firm based in North Carolina — shows candidate David Dewhurst now with 38 percent of the vote.

But Ted Cruz has 26 percent — much more than he did before the candidates appeared in the Belo Debate earlier this month.

Tom Leppert has 8 percent of the vote; Craig James has 7 percent in the PPP poll.

Let's take a closer look at front-runners Dewhurst and Cruz.

Dewhurst's lead in September was 29 percent; now, it's just 12 percent.

Over the last three PPP polls, Cruz's support has grown from 12 percent to 18 percent to 26 percent.

Recognizing that Cruz is his top opponent, the Dewhurst campaign is attacking Cruz for representing a Chinese company that a jury found stole blueprints from an American businessman to make tires.

But Dewhurst isn't personally speaking out on this issue; rather, it's the man who brought the case.

Cruz has previously criticized Dewhurst for not facing voters on issues, but not this time.

Jordan Fishman is the Florida tire-maker who's rolling through Texas for the Dewhurst campaign, criticizing Cruz, who is an attorney.

"You can't be a tea party guy, wave the flag, and them make a choice... a choice to represent a Chinese company who's already lost," Fishman said.

A Virginia federal jury in 2010 found Shandong Linglong part of a conspiracy that stole blueprints from Fishman to make mining tires. Fishman was awarded $26 million.

Cruz represents Shandong Linglong in the appeal that his campaign calls an "ordinary part of the legal process between two private parties."

But that's not enough to satisfy the Florida tire-maker. "He could've said to the firm, 'I don't want to be the lead counsel in this case,'" Fishman said.

Hoping to turn off GOP primary voters to Cruz, the Dewhurst campaign included Fishman in a TV attack ad, but Dewhurst is not personally joining in.

Dewhurst's campaign told WFAA he wasn't available for an interview.

When asked why Dewhurst didn't join him for the attack on Cruz, Fishman said, "I have no relationship with the Lieutenant Governor."

Cruz criticized Dewhurst in the Belo Debate for avoiding voter forums and issues. "But Lt. Gov. Dewhurst believed he didn't have the time to go in front of Texas voters to listen to their questions and defend their record," Cruz said.

However, in this case, Cruz's campaign didn't want to talk, either, declining an interview request.

Fishman said he's not endorsing Dewhurst, and the campaign only covered his expenses for the Texas appearance. He just wants to talk about the Chinese stealing American ideas.

So far, he's the only one.

"They gave me the opportunity of coming down and talking about it," Fishman said.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com