While they avoided convictions and courtroom drama, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller had similar battles to fight in their reelection quests; they had to overcome perceptions of playing funny with the public’s trust.
In Tuesday’s statewide Republican primary, Bush and Miller prevailed despite public relations nightmares in the months leading up to balloting.
As Bush crusaded for his Alamo Master Plan, he fought public records requests that sought to learn about how his plan would handle the mingling of public and private money. He also barred the public from attending meetings of the nonprofit Alamo Complex Management, which manages the Alamo.
Miller is the recipient of the “Jesus Shot,” accused by the liberal Progress Texas of misusing state funds for two trips in February 2015 to Oklahoma.
Miller was then found to have withheld public records regarding the trip, according to a news report in 2016. Miller was elected as Agriculture Commissioner in 2014; this is his first reelection campaign for the office.
Both Bush and Miller are viewed strongly by the mainstream Republican Party in Texas, although both have had trouble with the conservative wing.
Yet they prevailed in their primaries and, unless there are major misdeeds unveiled, most likely will prevail again in November.
Political parties are like teams, says Jay Aiyer, assistant professor of political science at Texas Southern University.
“Folks who support the team tend to vote for them regardless of the underlying liabilities that may exist,” Aiyer said. “So there will be Republicans who vote for a crooked Republican over an honest Democrat and vice versa. And it happens all the time.”
Steve Miller can be reached at [email protected]