Amarillo is in the middle of quite an interesting election season. As we sit in the midst of one of the biggest primary contests we have seen in our area in sometime, political groups have waded into the arena to carry the banners of their candidates and to throw stones at the candidates that they do not like. One of those groups is Amarillo Matters.
In this editorial, I likely will not tell you anything that you don't already know about Amarillo Matters. Amarillo Matters is the epitome of a special interest group. Funded by downtown property owners, investors and their friends, Amarillo Matters essentially looks to throw money at certain races with the mindset that everything must have a price. Often times, that price is paid to consultants outside of Amarillo, as while the group claims that Amarillo "matters," voters should notice that some of their top expenses are to the Austin-based Murphy Nasica firm and to other Austin businesses.
However, earlier this week, Amarillo Matters launched what is sure to be their most ironic campaign yet. The group has begun attacking Empower Texans, a statewide political action committee, insinuating that the group's president, Michael Quinn Sullivan, and its donors are "buying" Amarillo elections with "lies."
Perhaps they do not remember the 2017 municipal election?
In May, Amarillo Matters launched a flyer to the mailboxes of Amarillo voters that served as an attack ad for four City Council candidates. The group made insinuation and innuendo its top calling card, leading voters to believe many non-truths about the candidates. If you had read the mailer, you would have come away with the impression that James Schenck, candidate for city council place two, was an anarchist or that Elisha Demerson, an incumbent, was a liar. The group claimed that these were the "facts" and the reasons they opposed the candidates. The truth was Amarillo Matters opposed these candidates because they knew that their special interest group dollars could not swallow up these candidates like they could the candidates that they were supporting.
Today, Amarillo Matters claims that Empower Texans is trying to buy Amarillo's elections. Amarillo Matters should know what that looks like because they have, in fact, bought elections in the past.
On March 6th, Amarillo voters would do well to reject Amarillo Matters, its two donors (it was funded by only two donors last fundraising cycle) and its candidates. If Amarillo voters do so, perhaps it will be a start on the road to cleaning up the trail of unethical actions and broken government that the group has left in its path.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief