Montgomery County Tea Party releases endorsements, candidate research for March 6 Republican Primary Election

Montgomery County Tea Party Vetting Committee Chairman John Hill Wertz wearing a color of Louisiana State University.

Conroe, January 17 – The Montgomery County Tea Party released its candidate endorsements and research for the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. Vetting Committee Chairman John Hill Wertz explained the endorsements and the massive amount of data the organization had collected in the process.

MCTP released endorsements and recommendations for nineteen government positions, eleven statewide ballot propositions, and fourteen contested Republican Precinct Chair electoral contests. MCTP endorsed the following individuals for the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election:

  • Mark Keough for Montgomery County Judge;
  • Melanie Bush for Montgomery County Treasurer;
  • Steve Toth for Texas House of Representatives District 15;
  • Bob Bagley for Precinct 4 Montgomery County Commissioner;
  • Kristin Bays for 284th District Court;
  • Melisa Miller for Montgomery County Distric Clerk;
  • Terrence Boggs for Montgomery County GOP Chairman;
  • Dan Patrick for Lieutenant Governor of Texas; and
  • Weston Martinez for Texas Railroad Commission.

MCTP named the following top vote getters among the Vetting Committee members:

  • Mark Turnbull for Montgomery County Clerk;
  • Gregory Parker for Precinct 2 County Commissioner;
  • Matt Beasley for Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace;
  • Ron Willingham for Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace;
  • Greg Abbott for Governor of Texas;
  • Sid Miller for Texas Agriculture Commissioner;
  • Jerry Patterson for Texas Land Commissioner;
  • David Bridges for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 1; and
  • Jay Brandon for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8.

MCTP publishes an enormous amount of material on each of the candidates at USVoteSmart.com. If you’re interested in details about candidates in any particular race, it’s worth checking out MCTP’s information even if you don’t agree with it. For example, in the Montgomery County Judge’s race, there are two candidates. MCTP endorsed Mark Keough with a 91% vote.

Here’s what MCTP says about Mark Keough:

Montgomery County Judge candidate Mark Keough received the endorsement and 91% vote from the Montgomery County Tea Party.

“Pros:

  • God centric, with beliefs of laws based on Judeo-Christian ethics and said he will defend those in government if challenged
  • Pro-life; marriage between a man and a woman
  • Had an 88 Fiscal Responsibility Index from Empower Texans in the Texas House
  • Wants an Ethics policy with punitive measures for bad behavior that seems pervasive throughout most of the court
  • Strong proponent of zero-based budgeting and eliminating wasteful spending (noted in questionnaire-under Budget category-down below).
  • Wants to prioritize spending on the two main functions of county government….Law Enforcement, Road and Bridge maintenance and construction
  • Staunchly against the use of Certs of Oblication (CO’s), because the county has $130 Million in reserves.
  • If elected, would reverse course on the 249  toll road returning it to TxDOT and fighting to end the tolls on it and then dissolving the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority
  • Endorsed by: Texas Right to Life and The Golden Hammer.

“Cons:

  • Gave the seconding speech for liberal/progressive Republican Texas Speaker-of-the-House Joe Straus, which he now regrets.
  • Positions (2016 Political Courage Test):  Claims candidate doesn’t provide voters on key positions.”

Here’s what MCTP says about Craig Doyal:

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal did not receive support from the Montgomery County Tea Party.

“Pros:

  • Holds prayer and pledges before every court.
  • Experienced (over 15 years) into the inner workings of the county and court, three years as judge
  • Oftentimes approachable – avaliable to discuss various topics relating to the court

“Cons: 

Each discussion of the candidates includes additional biographical information, video footage of candidate interviews, candidate questionnaires, and additional information.

MCTP also announced its support of the following individuals for contested GOP Precinct Chairs:

  • Brian Crumby for Precinct 13;
  • Walter West for Precinct 16;
  • Samuel Allison for Precinct 17;
  • Maureen Ball for Precinct 29;
  • Jon Bouche for Precinct 35;
  • Henry Daniels for Precinct 40;
  • Ashley Burke for Precinct 57;
  • Andy Nedrow for Precinct 60;
  • Adrian Kaiser for Precinct 66;
  • Jack Munich for Precinct 70;
  • Robin Dupuy for Precinct 77;
  • Todd Blackford for Precinct 78;
  • Jennie Stephenson for Precinct 86; and
  • Scott Green for Precinct 96.

Wertz provided The Golden Hammer with a detailed explanation of MCTP’s vetting procedures. Hertz explained,

“[Our purpose was…[t]o find the candidate/s and issues, for each race, that have the relevant job knowledge/experience, that’s as close to our Christian Conservative Core Values as possible.  The transparency of our process allows us to avoid the appearance of being a Pay-to-Play scheme, while developing the most transparent, fair and comprehensive vetting process of anyone out there.  And many of the candidates we’ve vetted have told us that we’ve achieved our objectives.

“The process is fairly staightforward, though robust.  Note:  The the following is not laid out in detail in the vetting policy.

“1.       We start by all of the vetting team, in accordance with our Vetting Policy, providing and developing questions, for each type of the races, via a shared spreadsheet.

“2.       We then each score the questions using a modified weighting system, which gives us (we feel) the best questions to ask the candidates.




“3.       An email link is then sent to the candidate, whereby they can link into their account via private password.  This enables them to answer the questionnaire securely.

“4.       Once a candidate has completed the questionnaire, they are likely to be invited to a video  recorded interview(except Precinct Chairs). These are not required for endorsement, but weigh heavily in our decision to endorse – especially for local races.

“5.       From the questionnaire, video interview and our own research, we develop a list of Pros & Cons.

“6.       And then, from all of the above(No.s 3-5), we grade the candidates on a grade-school scale of 0 to 100 (w/100 being the highest).  If the average of those scores from our team meets or exceed 80%, they’re then “eligible” for endorsement (though not guaranteed).

“7.       To be endorsed, the candidate (after receiving an average score of 80 or better), must then receive 75% of a 2nd vote binary vote (Y or N), to endorse.

“8.       And then finally, the candidate in that race must receive the approval of 60% of our membership to be released, normally presented at the first meeting after our results are obtained (for a primary, that would be the first meeting in January).

“9.       Our results are the released in an official announcement by our President.

“10.   We do reserve the right to add additional data (even changing scores, including endorsements), as material data becomes available that we were previously unaware of.

“All of our results are posted in USVoteSmart.com, making our process of selection the most transparent, thorough process out there.”

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