The press release doesn't say what were the content of the negative attacks, but we can get a pretty good idea by looking at young Mr. Cole's website. The three main points of his campaign message are:
“Jon Cole needs to come clean on whether or not he paid for or supports these dirty tactics that seek to smear the reputation of one of our state’s finest leaders,” Laura Elizabeth Morales, Director of Public Relations for the Young Conservatives of Texas said.
“Representative Madden is a West Point graduate with a sound conservative voting record. It’s shameful that these attacks are coming from such an inexperienced opponent. While Cole is new to politics, he needs to understand this type of behavior is unacceptable and wrong.”
In December the YCT, in a unanimous vote, endorsed Rep. Madden for re-election, citing his strong conservative record of making our streets safer and fighting government growth. In the 17th installment of their Legislative Ratings, Rep. Madden has a career rating of 85, indicating excellent standing with YCT.
- Stop Liberal Drug Decriminalization in Texas
- Get Tough on Sex Offenders
- Protect Texans, not Criminals
For that matter, his call to "double" sentences shows he doesn't understand Texas' indeterminate sentencing process, where a third degree felony is punished with 2-10 years, and a first degree felony with 5-99. I don't even know what "doubling" the sentence would mean. He obviously (wrongly) thinks Texas operates similarly to federal sentencing guidelines.
Perhaps my favorite bit on Mr. Cole's website declares that he will:
Expose and prevent liberal legalization schemes. Legislators in Austin are minimizing the rights of children and crime victims and allying themselves with liberals such as the ACLU and George Soros to decriminalize drug crimes and retroactively review previous criminal cases.There are no specifics or documentation, given, of course, because the allegation is absurd and false. Not only has Madden never pushed to "decriminalize" drugs, he expanded the number of drug treatment beds available and passed legislation to expand drug courts (which even Cole's literature supports as a viable strategy). In Jerry Madden we're talking about the Republican chair of the Corrections Committee, a West Point graduate, an engineer, and a Tom Craddick loyalist. What an odd target against whom to run a "soft on crime" campaign!
Another bizarre moment comes when Cole implies that Madden and the Lege have somehow coddled sex offenders, decrying Texas' "current 'catch and release' policy" (?... !) on sex offenders and calling for tougher penalties. But nobody's at the Lege has done more to improve Texas' supervision of sex offenders than Jerry Madden, plus he helped draft the version of "Jessica's Law" (which Cole supports and Grits strongly opposed) that finally made it through the process.
Cole says he supports "punishment over rehabilitation for all sexual offenders," but Madden's committee, which oversees the prison system, has to deal with the practical reality that sex offenders constitute one in six Texas prisoners, so many will eventually get out. For those offenders, Texans are safer if the system made an attempt at rehabilitation. Honestly, Cole's position seems flat out juvenile and irresponsible; I doubt, for example, the sex assault victims groups would support his "no treatment" hard line.
So Jerry Madden is taking cheap shots in his district from a baby-faced Drug War hawk. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I hope GOP voters in his district see past it. They've got a good one representing them right now, and given the crises he's managing in the youth and adult prison systems, not to mention his multi-year effort to strengthen community supervision (probation), for now Texas needs Jerry Madden to stay right where he is.
MORE: See coverage from the Collin County Observer.