Image: The 1844 Presidential Election was one of the nastiest in American history up to that point. James Knox Polk, one of the United States’ greatest presidents, defeated Whig Henry Clay, primarily because Polk supported annexation of Texas, the greatest place on Earth.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: THIS STORY HAS AN UPDATE, DATED NOVEMBER 17, 2017, 0930.
Magnolia and Conroe, November 17 – The Republican Primary Election contest between incumbent Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, local businessman and Republican activist Brian Dawson, and former Comal County Commissioner and conservative author Gregory Parker is rapidly turning into a nasty brawl challenging even the incredibly contentious political race between James Knox Polk and Henry Clay for the White House in 1844.
Well before the March 6, 2018, Primary Election date, Riley faces substantial criminal legal trouble and is finding serious difficulty uttering the truth, while Dawson and Parker are attacking each other as well as the incumbent. President Reagan’s “11th Commandment” (“You should not speak evil of a fellow Republican”) seems to have gone into the history books with the 1844 Presidential Election.
Riley’s difficulty with the truth
Riley faces a number of challenges. He’s under indictment allegedly for violated the Texas Open Meetings Act and faces the Beaumont Court of Appeals, along with co-defendants County Judge Craig Doyal and local political boss Marc Davenport, on January 25, 2018. Riley and Doyal are also facing a very serious ongoing criminal investigation of the Montgomery County Grand Jury, which is looking into Riley’s and Doyal’s alleged use of County property, equipment, and services for their personal and political campaign use.
Riley held a “campaign kickoff” at Unity Park in Magnolia on Saturday, October 14, 2017, which got him into a mess of trouble, when he used school district employees for his setup and cleanup, used County motorized carts for transporting attendees around the event, and used school district and County vehicles and employees for a variety of other political purposes.
On October 15, 2017, the day after his “kickoff,” Riley announced “we have about 1500 people visit Unity Park throughout the day for a Family Fun Day.” Conservative Republican Precinct Chair and school policy activist Ginger Russell, better known as “The Quiet Lady from Magnolia,” and Campaign for Liberty Coordinator and close associate to former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, Kelli Cook, both attended Riley’s event and have estimated that approximately 300 people attended.
But three weeks after he had announced that “about 1500 people” visited the campaign kickoff throughout the day, on November 6, 2017, Riley’s estimate increased dramatically when he announced that “Over 2000 kiddos had face paintings” alone during the October 14 event.
Russell commented, “I find it disturbing that you have an elected official that can’t seem to be honest and truthful. The falsifying information for all to see has become so blatant it is no telling what lies take place that the taxpayer is not aware of. Commissioner Charlie Riley’s campaign manager, Kristin Nicole Christ manages his campaign page and seems to follow in Riley’s dishonest footsteps.”
Dawson and Parker heat up
Early in the day on November 16, 2017, a mysterious website appeared, www.gregoryparker.net, which was very critical of Parker’s past service as a Comal County Commissioner and in other positions. There was no political disclaimer on the website and no identification of its author or sponsor.
The links contained several portable document format (.pdf) files that contained highlighted information critical of Parker’s past. Placement of those .pdf files into an Adobe Acrobat Reader yielded the source of the highlights, “bdawson.”
The Golden Hammer‘s information technology research department conducted an investigation and found that the server on which the “gregoryparker.net” website resided had the same Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol address as that for Dawson’s campaign website.
Parker discussed the situation with The Golden Hammer yesterday afternoon, saying, “It is disheartening to see these same fake tea party tactics that my opponent, Dawson, used in the last race to help Doyal and Riley win their last election, are now being used in this race. I am proud of the work I did as Comal County Commissioner, as a state commissioner and as a city manager. Given my significant public leadership experience and hundreds of votes, to take 3 or 4 votes out of the context to cover up his prior support of Judge Doyal, Commissioner Riley and the Woodlands Parkway Extension, clearly displays a lack of substance, and is emblematic of desperation.”
This newspaper interviewed Dawson last night as well. Dawson admitted that he is the author of the www.gregoryparker.net website. Dawson did, however, explain that he had not intended to publish the website yet. “The publishing of the website was a miscommunication between me and my campaign. It wasn’t intended to be published,” Dawson said.
Dawson explained his rationale in authorizing the website about his political foe, Parker. “Mr. Parker set up publishing multiple pieces on me that he was circulating. He’s worked tirelessly to mislead the public about me and to be very deceptive. I wanted to be prepared to respond with facts about his records,” Dawson explained.
When The Golden Hammer interviewed Dawson around 6:15 p.m. Thursday evening, Dawson said that he would think through the issue of whether he should take the website down or just add a political disclaimer. “I want to think about it, because I want to do the right thing,” Dawson made clear.
Dawson said that criticism of his mistaken publication of the website about Parker was similar to the unfair criticism that people have leveled against activists Ginger Russell and Kelli Cook for their work in exposing wrongdoing by incumbent Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley. “This is the same way they treated Ginger and Kelli when they exposed Commissioner Riley. They just want to attack the messenger. I’m just the messenger here,” Dawson said.
Dawson pointed out that he has been very critical of Riley’s conduct as a County Commissioner and, since the revelations surfaced about Riley’s use of County government property for personal and political campaign purposes, Dawson openly called for Riley’s resignation.
In reference to his concerns about the ethics of both Riley and Parker, Dawson explained, “These are important issues. Nothing was editorialized in my website about Parker. These are issues Mr. Parker has worked tirelessly to avoid. It’s typical Montgomery County politics.”
UPDATE, 0930, November 17, 2017: Precinct 2 County Commissioner candidate Brian Dawson updated the disclaimer on his www.gregoryparker.net website early this morning. It now attributes the website to Dawson.