Tea Parties at Odds on Candidates – the rest or the story

Dear Weatherford Citizens,

Eric Matthews

I am copying the written statement I sent to Margarita Venegas, Editor of the Weatherford Democrat on Friday, May 6th that was supposed to be printed in its entirety in Sunday’s frontpage article entitled “Tea Parties at Odds on Candidates”.  I don’t quite understand why bits and pieces of it was printed instead of a verbatim of what I submitted.  By leaving out the facts I submitted in my written statement, the reader does not get the full truth of my side of the story.  Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to share my statement in its entirety to Ms. Venegas.
See below verbatim statement I submitted to Margarita Venegas, Editor of the Weatherford Democrat on Friday, May 6th:

I asked Zan Prince why the PACs she had started supported any particular candidate — and she told me that it was about backing someone with the same ideology.  I would pose the same question to you — why should the Tea Party Patriots back a candidate?  First, she has 3 PACs that I am aware of.  One of her PACs (Parker County Republicans for Conservative Government) paid for the political signs of my opponent, Jeff Robinson per the PAC disclaimer at the bottom of his 4’ x 4’ signs.  The other 2 PACs she has started were started in October 2010 per the ethics commission.  Those PACs were the Parker County Tea Party PAC and the Weatherford Tea Party PAC.  The sole member of these 3 PACs is Zan.   Additionally, it can be noted that her PAC, the Parker County Republicans for Conservative Government received campaign contributions from Kay Granger and Roger Williams, October 2010 and some of that money has been used by Zan to support my opponents.   I don’t think the intent of Kay Granger and Roger Williams was for their contributions to be used in a local city election.  I recommend you contact them to verify this.  Bottom line, Zan is the sole member of these three PACs and the ideology she mentions above is hers not a particular group of people.  She muddies the water by making it seem like a group of people versus her alone are supporting a particular candidate by using these PACs.   The Tea Party Patriots back me because they are backing someone with the same ideology.  They have witnessed first hand my involvement in this community through the various activities I have participated with them in over the past few years (i.e. marches, rallies, parades, and recently providing water & supplies to the firefighters of PK)

I asked her why the Republican and Parker County Tea Party would support a different candidate than the Tea Party Patriots and why there was a difference of opinion. She answered that many people/candidates are involved in various political areas of the Republican/Tea Party and that she invites all members of the Tea Party Patriots to each activity she plans so she doesn’t understand the disconnect.  The disconnect is Zan is the Republican Party Chair and her ideology differs a great deal with many members of the Republican Party as can be attested to by the two different Republican Women’s Groups (The Parker County Republican Women and the Bush Legacy of Republican Women).  Additionally because some members of the Republican Party do not share her ideology the attendance at the Parker County Republican Party meetings has decreased over the years.  I am one of those members of the Republican Party who quit going to the Parker County Republican Party meetings because of the difference in ideology I have with Zan.   Additionally, I don’t know what Tea Party Patriots activities Zan is talking about because she has never participated with our group, “The Tea Party Patriots of Parker County, formerly known as the Parker County Tea Party” in any TEA PARTY activities we have been involved in nor have we ever received invites from her regarding activities she has planned.

I asked her about her response to the blogs, which mentioned her personally, and she acknowledged that there have been personal comments against her before. — though I’m not entirely sure why the the blogs are against her personally when Robinson is the candidate.  The blogs are against her because they don’t believe she as the Parker County Republican Chair should be personally involved in a nonpartisan local election.  Most folks feel like she is trying to use her position as the Republican Party Chair to tell them how they must vote versus allowing them to research the candidates and make up their own minds.

I asked her about registration of the Parker County Tea Party name — she said it was done last year and that it was her understanding that Dawn King was involved with the Weatherford Tea Party. That she’d simply registered them in order to create PACs to support candidates and she had no idea at the time of registration that Dawn or anyone from the Tea Party Patriots were going to try to register the name.  She registered the Parker County Tea Party and the Weatherford Tea Party in her name in October 2010.  This was after knowing we had carried the name Parker County Tea Party on our facebook page since July 4, 2009 and had a website which was established during that same timeframe.  Prior to July of 2009 we were known as the Weatherford Tea Party and the members took a vote and elected to change the name to the Parker County Tea Party due to the growth we were experiencing in our group and the fact that our members not only lived in Weatherford but in other parts of the County.  It is probably true Zan registered the Parker County Tea Party and the Weatherford Tea Party as PACs to support candidates but she never gave us the courtesy of letting us know she was doing that especially in light of the fact that she knew both names had been a part of our history as a Tea Party since our inception.  I think her choice of registering the Parker County Tea Party and the Weatherford Tea Party as PACs without letting us know might be legal for her to do but, it also causes speculation to be drawn by some as to her motives for doing so given the fact we share a similar name and the fact that the Parker County Tea Party has supported me both as a candidate and City Councilman.

She also noted that elections need to be about the promotion of a cause or candidate and that fighting isn’t what she is about, nor does she want to see that in candidates.  If she is about unity of a cause and not division then why did she form the two PACs with names which were identical to our TEA Party Group and why does she not relinquish the Tea Party PACS she has formed back to us?

Finally, she also mentioned that you are being investigated by the state Attorney General’s office for an electioneering violation. She sent me information on a complaint filed last year with the state that was recently forwarded to the AG for investigation. The complaint alleges that you entered into a precinct and started campaigning (illegally) and that you had signs that were inside the 100-foot radius (also illegal). I wanted to be sure you had a chance to say anything in your defense if this is true.  I was not aware that I had any complaint filed against me with the ethics commission until I read Evon Markum’s recent letter to the editor where she mentions it.  I do think it was unfair of Evon to not state the facts of what happened versus interjecting her opinion.  The facts surrounding me entering a precinct poll site during the November Election are as follows:

First, the Precinct Evon Markum mentions I entered is her’s(she is the election judge for the particular precinct in question).

Secondly, Ms. Markum fails to mention that she is an employee of First National Bank and her employer is Zan Prince, Vice President and Director of First National Bank.  Ms. Markum also is a Republican Precinct Chair who serves under Zan Prince, Republican Chair of the Parker County Republican Party.  Ms. Markum also fails to mention that both her and Zan supported my opponent Mitch Bedinger during last November’s Election.  Additionally, Ms. Markum fails to mention my campaign sign was posted next to Mitch Bedinger’s Campaign sign on the chain link fence which was located more than 100 feet beyond the entrance to the Masonic Lodge located on Palo Pinto Street that was serving as the aforementioned precinct voting site.   I do not believe my sign was in violation of the 100 foot radius as it was posted next to Mitch Bedinger’s sign.  The location of Mitch Bedinger’s sign posted on the chain link fence next to mine had been approved by Ms. Markum to be posted there.  Therefore, I do not believe Ms. Markum as an election judge would knowingly violate election rules by approving the posting of Mitch Bedinger’s sign in the aforementioned location.

Thirdly, Ms. Markum fails to mention I was not wearing a name tag nor campaign button nor anything that would identify me as a candidate when I entered her Election Precinct and she had approached me and asked me to identify myself.  I told her who I was and that my reason for being inside the election precinct poll site was because I had questions I wanted to ask the State of Texas Voting Inspector who I had seen outside the Precinct entrance and had followed inside to make my inquires.  She said I needed to leave and I said I would do so after I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions of the State Voting Inspector.  I even asked the State of Texas Voting Inspector if he would give me a few moments to ask my questions of him and he said it would be ok.  Ms. Markum was not privy to my conversation with the State of Texas Voting Inspector as she had walked off to attend to another matter.   My conversation lasted approximately 3 minutes with the State of Texas Voting inspector and I immediately departed the Election Precinct Poll Site not stopping to talk to anyone else.

In summary, I was only in her Election Precinct Poll Site for 3 ½ minutes for the purpose of questioning the State of Texas Voting Inspector and then I departed the Election Precinct Poll Site upon conclusion of my conversation with the State of Texas Voting Inspector.  I look forward to answering the State of Texas Ethics complaint Zan mentions as I committed no violation and I plan to solicit a written statement from the State of Texas Voting Inspector as a witness to my conduct while I was in the Election Precinct Poll Site.

Eric Matthews
Councilman, Place 2


Written Statement by Eric Matthews to the Weatherford Democrat Editor in Today’s Article (Tea Parties at Odds on Candidates)

One response

  1. Senator Blutarsky

    “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.”
    — John Adams

    No question Zans’ antics are a “private interest” , and an embarassment to Parker County

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