North Texas PAC behind partisan smear fliers, Carrollton City Council member may be involved

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The front and back of the fliers sent out by the North Texas PAC for Trust, Honesty and Integrity. (Image courtesy North Texas PAC for Trust, Honesty and Integrity)

A Carrollton City Council member may be involved with the partisan fliers that were sent out concerning Neil Ferguson and Ronni Cade in the late stages of their runoff election last month.

The morning of June 15, Lewisville voters found fliers in their mailboxes related to the runoff election between Ferguson and Cade for the Place 2 City Council seat. The fliers painted a highly partisan picture of the two candidates, singling Ferguson out as a Democrat with a liberal agenda and ascribing to him several views that he has never expressed, and contrasted Cade as a conservative. Local municipal elections are non-partisan.

Despite the fliers’ support for her, Cade was furious when she saw them. She said she was completely blindsided.  

“I screamed. “I said, ‘I hope this doesn’t cost me an election,’” she said. “I would publicly apologize to Neil, but I didn’t do it.”

Cade took public backlash for the fliers online, but her poll performance went up after the fliers came out.

Ferguson would go on to defeat Cade, winning his third full city council term, but by a very narrow margin. He led her by 338 votes in the May 5 general election, but a third candidate Mary Smith siphoned off enough votes from the two of them that it was only good for 47.63 percent of the total vote, necessitating a runoff. But in that runoff, Ferguson only led Cade by 46 votes, and actually earned fewer than she did on election day itself — the day after these fliers came out.

Barely visible on the flier, hidden in the shadow of a picture of Cade, is the funding disclosure — Paid for by the North Texas PAC for Trust, Honesty and Integrity. The PAC’s website says its mission is to recruit, train, promote and financially support candidates across every available platform, and lists Lewisville school and city elections as two of a handful of “targets.” It states, “we must combat the left by winning every local down ballot election.” The PAC has raised $14,047.37 and spent $13,017.51 this year as of July 11, according to the Texas Ethics Commission website.

The funding disclosure is barely visible next to a picture of Cade. (Image courtesy North Texas PAC for Trust, Honesty and Integrity)

The PAC website lists two of its principals as treasurer Tom Washington and Carrollton City Council member Mike Hennefer. The PAC’s mailing address is Hennefer’s business office in Dallas. Hennefer was elected to the council in 2017, and had previously run for the Texas District 65 Representative seat, losing in the primary to Ron Simmons in 2012. Simmons would win the general race and is up for re-election this year.

Hennefer declined comment for this story.

The PAC website quotes Hennefer in saying, “The opposition is ugly. They are using fear and falsehoods.” Several of the claims on the PAC’s Lewisville fliers are either unconfirmed or misleading.

The fliers say Ferguson supports sanctuary cities, restricting Second Amendment rights, open borders, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez, House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco) and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D- New York) — views he has never publicly expressed.

For Cade’s part, the flier says she will enforce the law on sanctuary cities, evoking an ongoing national debate on immigration policies, with “law” underlined for emphasis. The possibility of becoming a sanctuary city, or a municipality that does not fully cooperate with national efforts to enforce immigration law, has not been a topic of conversation in Lewisville.

Cade said she’d never heard of the PAC, Washington or Hennefer, and was shocked to learn he was a councilman in Carrollton. However, she said she’d been told that local Democratic groups had endorsed Ferguson, and that Democrats have nationally decided to get more involved in local campaigns. Cade said she was told that was the impetus for the North Texas PAC sending out its fliers.

Cade referred specifically to the United Democrats of Denton County, whose Facebook page posted an endorsement of Ferguson May 2, along with nine other candidates in unrelated races. The page has 84 likes, and the specific post has no interactions.

Cade and Ferguson were both publicly committed to running a clean campaign, and had expressed respect for each other in the past. Cade had previously served on Lewisville’s City Council in the ‘90s, and said she was frustrated with the growing national split between liberal and conservative Americans. She said party politics had no place in local elections.

“The municipal and the school board elections are non-partisan, and there’s a reason for that,” she said. “You can do your national platforms and stuff like that on a state level, county level, whatever, but when you’re talking about a city council level and a school board level, we’re there to represent everybody.”

Ferguson agreed, saying that party politics has no place on council whatsoever.

“When you can convince me there are potholes with a ‘D’ and others with an ‘R’ on them, and we need to figure out which ones should be funded for repair and which should not, I will know it is the end of sanity and rational government at City Hall,” Ferguson said. “It will also be the end of progress accomplished through teamwork. Keep the national talking point out of local government, and we will all be the better for it.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. The reason Cade got more votes the week of the election is that she spent time near the polling place actually interacting with voters. That switched some votes.

    Also some voters were mad with the way the City chased the Old Town Meat Market out of town. Plus spending any tax payer money on a statue of someone named Ferguson may have caused a bad name association with the candidate. Not to mention the beatification boondoggle of Business 121. We need safety on that road, not dead plants that suck down future dollars.

    Cade and Ferguson are both great leaders for the city. But with all the national political chaos and money sloshing around, leaders need to be on their toes and do more outreach. When elections are decided by a few dozen votes, a smart operator could swing elections away from the complacent.

    And regardless of local cooperation, the national and state parties are damaging the locals. Maybe y’all local public servants should all run as independents and disavow the craziness. Or at least distance yourself from the blue and red poo flinging monkeys.

      • Ronni,

        I appreciate you sitting in the heat, waiting to talk to voters.

        And I appreciate Neil, so I warned him not to rest on his laurels, he nearly lost the race, and reminded him to spend more time talking to more voters.

        I’ll see both of ya’ at city events, budget seasons is upon us and I’m sharpening my spreadsheets. Every city department wants to spend all that tasty tax revenue, (looking at you Parks and Library), let’s make sure it’s warranted.

        Chris

  2. The Independent suggestion is the best suggestion I’ve heard. I’ve always believed our municipal and school board races were non-partisan. My main concern is: Why are these right wing nuts getting involved in our municipal elections? They need to keep their money and big mouths out of Lewisville.

    Just for the record, I’ve voted Republican 95% of the time since the late 1960s. Also, I have no idea what political party affiliation either Cade or Ferguson has.

  3. Boy was I wrong. Mike hannifer has made a terrible mistake to involve himself with the petty and lying information he helped put out on the Cade ferguson election. What ferguson did to Cade is what will happen to hannifer at the next election if he chooses
    S
    To run. Mike was also involved with the improper handling of the north Carrollton. Mosey and Hebron library voting station which was mishandled by the election judge. He has misled us and I ask democrats to watch for further ugly politics
    In the future. Don’t let the republicans lie about us challenge them. Cliff

  4. James,

    We have out of area, out-of-state and out-of-nation money being sent to various sides of national, state and local races in Texas. There is a lot of leverage going on, this is a critical pivot point in history and the US and Texas is part of the battleground.

    I’m an independent and have no idea which party Cade or Ferguson identify with. I just want them to help us deal with some of the crime issues and other needs of ordinary citizens, not just blow money on pet projects.

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