Push Polling in District 102?

Molly Potter is 65 years old and has multiple sclerosis, which confines her to a chair. Normally she doesn’t mess with phone calls from people she doesn’t know. But every evening her husband goes for a walk. And the week before last, while he was on his walk, the phone rang. The caller said he was conducting research for the upcoming election. So Potter answered his questions — and rather quickly a disturbing trend emerged from his line of questioning that suggests there’s some push polling being aimed at State Rep. Tony Goolsby.

Whom did she plan to vote for in the presidential election? And, tellingly, almost right after that question, whom did she plan to vote for in the race for the District 102 seat in the Texas House?

So happens that Potter went to school with Tony Goolsby’s wife, Toppy. She goes to the same church as the Goolsbys, Lovers Lane United Methodist. Potter told the caller that Goolsby had her vote.

At which point, Potter was asked a series of follow-up questions. She can’t recall the exact questions, but they were along the lines of: “How likely would you be to vote for Goolsby if you knew of such and such corruption charges?” She said she was asked about 10 questions that painted Goolsby in a negative light. When her husband got home, Potter told him, “If I didn’t know Tony, I’d think he was a terrible person.”

Goolsby’s camp says his office has gotten a dozen or so calls from constituents in District 102 saying they’ve received similar calls.

Is someone out there playing dirty?


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33 responses to “Push Polling in District 102?”

  1. wes mantooth says:

    I live in 102 and got that same push poll. I don’t know that Goolsby’s opponent realizes it might be doing her more damage than good. For one thing, the guy on the other end of the line had only a passing familiarity with the English language. Despite the fact that he was clearly reading a script, he still wasn’t very good at it.

    I wonder if the job of administering the push-poll didn’t go to the lowest bidder and they are using substandard telemarketing firms to fulfill the contract.

    The “questions” were pretty poorly written too. Not quite “If you knew that Tony Goolsby drowns kittens and then consumes their kitten blood” but not a whole lot more subtle than that. It really made his opponent look bad by comparison. I mean, I’m sure I’m not the only voter in the 102 that wants a Republican kitten killer working on my behalf!

  2. bc says:

    My older sister was in a beauty pageant years ago and she met with Tony Goolsby as part of her resume building in order to represent Texas (mostly just handshakes and photos for an application). He gave me an awesome t-shirt with his face on it. His face was all green on a white t-shirt. I was a little skater kid who hated authority, so I put devil horns on him and wore it to school. I miss that shirt.

    And that’s why I’ll vote for Tony Goolsby. Nice guy.

  3. Hockey Hair says:

    I also received a call. Yuck. I know his opponent has an uphill battle against a veteran and well respected legislator, but these tactics are such a turnoff. Very slimy.

  4. drew says:

    I received a push poll call this weekend that I assume was being operated by Dan Branch supporters. There were a few “questions” painting the opponent in a negative light (tying him to the Fred Baron scandal, etc.), but the majority involved statements touting Branch’s platform and past accomplishments.

  5. JS says:

    I received a strange call from a woman with a cajun accent who said, “Tony Goolsby is the devil.”

  6. Mad voter says:

    His opponent should be ashamed of herself. Carol Kent is running for state office for the first time and already she is playing dirty politics. Shame on you Carol.

  7. Karl Rove says:

    Leave me outta this one. I got bigger fish to fry.

  8. FND says:

    Being involved in the North Dallas -Far North Dallas political scene for more than 10 years, I can tell you that this sassy minx Carol Kent doesn’t stand a chance.
    Beating Tony Goolsby, a solid and well-liked official with an excelent record of service for HD 102 would be near-impossible. Mudslinging is her only hope to go from being crushed like a grape at the polls to just being stepped on…a lot.

    Good luck Carol! And if Carol or her campaign team is reading this, maybe you should hire a real pollster to conduct a real survey to see how big of a blip she registers on the radar…and stop wasting her money on slimy mudslinging tactics.

  9. BooyaShaka says:

    Isn’t this illegal??? Someone should file an ethics complaint against this lady. The nerve of some people.

  10. Joseph "Blue" Palasky says:

    Who is Carol Kent?

  11. Kent Can't says:

    I also received a call from the company Carol Kent hired to conduct this dirty scam. I got the telemarketer to admit he was in a call center in Dehli, India. Then he told me he had no idea who Carol Kent was, but she apparently paid his company money. At least that’s what I thought he said…could hardly understand the fellow.

  12. JBS says:

    This is Tony Goolsby pulling his dirty tricks again. He wants it to look like Carol is playing dirty politics to make himself look good after how he behaved so sleazily in 06 against Harriet Miller. He cannot win on the issues, he is an incompetent State Representative and the only thing people can say about him is that he is a nice guy. Carol Kent is a very competent professional woman and would never be involved with something so obviously stupid as this. Ask anyone else on the RISD Board of Trustees wo work with Carol.

  13. FND says:

    JBS – I’m glad you’re supporting Carol. Only if tens of thousands more people agreed with you (I’ll put my money on “they don’t”), Carol would actually stand a chance in November.

    Anybody that takes on an incumbent like Goolsby is going to have to start slingin’ some mud and go extremely negative and find something – anything to attack, so at least the newspapers will print their name. (But usually, candidates challenging an incumbent will at least start out playing nice…not go for the throat right from the starting gates. Carol will not get any respect this way, especially if she keeps trying to trick a bunch of seniors!

    And sorry to break it to you JBS, but Carol Kent IS “involved with something so obviously stupid as this,” because I, too, received one of her telemarketing calls. It was indeed a dirty push poll, not a scientific data gathering survey. Your campaign donation paid for this. Maybe you can call your friend and ask for a refund?

  14. Daniel says:


    You’re aware of the “famous episode in his life” when Rove bugged his own office, “discovered” said bug and thus discredited his boss’s opponent? Just because you received a dirty push-poll call that appeared to slime Goolsby isn’t proof positive that Goosby’s camp wasn’t behind it.

    That said, a well-liked and entrenched incumbent like Goolsby probably doesn’t have much to fear, and probably wouldn’t spend the time or energy to go Rovian in such a convoluted manner.

  15. Anon Imiss says:

    Y’all are crazy. Kent didn’t push poll. Where is the proof? Some one claims they might have possibly gotten a call. Did she record it? Did she write it down? Who performed the call? What number came up?

    I call shenanigans. Goolsby has deceived and lied to voters before and I bet he is doing it again.

    No proof, means no problems. Speculation shouldn’t be a campaign tactic.

  16. Long Memory says:

    You might want to read “How to Rig an Election,” by Allen Raymond. He’s a Republican activist who did 3 months hard time in the New Hampshire phone-jamming case. He thought the GOP hung him out to dry, so he wrote about how they pull this stuff off.

    And among their favorite tricks, lo and behold, is having someone with a voice and accent that people will recognize make calls to people who are, shall we say, not inclined to enjoy being push-polled by that voice and accent.

    This sounds pretty Roveian to me, especially if Goolsby has nothing to fear, but Nixon had nothing to fear either and he did something stupid.

  17. Long Memory says:

    And another thing: I have repeatedly asked when I talk to people at these call centers just where they’re calling from. I have NEVER gotten anyone to tell me they were from Delhi or anyplace else. They usually say they can’t say, “for security reasons.” So perhaps there’s less to this than might appear.

  18. LL says:

    Seriously? This is ridiculous. You have no proof whatsoever that Carol was behind this so-called “push” poll. For all you know, it was actually the Goolsby campaign testing how badly Goolsby’s record of corruption might hurt him during the campaign.

    I say bullshit.

  19. Louise says:

    I want all those who think that Karl Rove would not participate in a “lowly” Texas House race to know that he and Craddick were the featured draw for a fundraiser for Goolsby recently. A law suit is being pursued by previous opponent Harriet Miller for false allegations of voter fraud in the 2006 election that come out of Goolsby’s camp and straight out of the Rove playbook. There are VERY REAL reasons to believe this came from Goolsby, not Kent.

    Goolsby may be nice guy, but Kent is a really nice woman. Try looking at their records and positions. Read the DMN questionaire they answered. If Goolsby doesn’t have to worry about Kent, why is he spending a fortune on billboards all over the district?

  20. kkh says:

    I have known Carol Kent for many years as a Richardson School Board Trustee and a long-time community leader. She is a highly ethical and trustworthy person who would never do something like this. She wants to win this campaign on her merits, not dirty tricks.

    Goolsby showed in the 2006 election that he is willing to play dirty politics to win and it sure seems like he is up to his old tricks.

    It is time to elect a new voice in Austin to represent us. Carol Kent has my vote.

  21. KA says:

    Seems like all the speculation could be put to rest if the candidate in question would just weigh in on whether or not she initiated the polling call contract. Maybe one of her supporters could call and ask her to do so.

  22. Not another Goolsby Sock Puppet says:

    You know, in one of LBJ’s first races, he told his staff to spread a rumor that his opponent slept with farm animals.

    The staff was incredulous, saying there was no way to prove that the opponent slept with farm animals.

    LBJ said he was aware of that, but the point was to make them specifically come out and deny that they did not do it.

    With Goolsby’s history of shady campaigns, this is just another trick in his playbook to keep the conversation away from the fact that he’s become a lifetime politician in love with Austin and disconnected from his district. The more rumors and innuendo, the less the focus on his failed record.

    The onus shouldn’t be on Kent to prove she sponsored a push poll, the onus should be on Goolsby to prove his lie. While he’s at it, he can explain why he generated another fake scam in his 2006 race, why his committee let other House members pay taxpayer dollars to “ghost workers” in other states, and why his committee allows voting fraud on the floor of the Texas House when other members vote for each other.

    The earlier comments that you can tell alot about a candidate by the way they run their campaign is true. Goolsby runs shady campaigns laced with corruption then neglects his committee and lets other House members break the law and waste taxpayer dollars. Maybe it’s because he’s too nice of a guy to tell his consultants and fellow House members to get out of the gutter.

  23. Mad voter says:

    A quick check of Carol Kent’s background shows that she was recruited by, is supported by, and her campaign is managed by a liberal advocacy group out of Washington DC.

    Now really, push polls like the one being conducted for Carol Kent may be the way they do things in DC, but we expect better here in Texas.

  24. madder says:

    Want to know what a quick check of Tony Goolsby on the internet yielded for me? He laundered $157,000 of his campaign funds to pay himself. He made up a fake scandal in 2006 to help win reelection. He introduced a resolution honoring Karl Rove.


    Maybe this wasn’t a push poll after all. Maybe it was Goolsby testing his own negatives.

  25. wes mantooth says:

    Many years ago when I first got DirecTV, the first thing that came on the first channel that we saw was the dreckful movie “Conspiracy Theory” featuring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. Sometimes I wonder if people who follow politics are only tuned to that channel, watching that movie.

    To them I say: switch channels and watch “Road House” featuring Patrick Swayze and Ben Gazarra. It’s awesome and will make you wish for a bar like the Double Deuce in Dallas.

  26. Louise says:

    Dear Mad Voter ….
    Carol Kent was not recruited by a DC advocacy group. She was recruited by North Dallas Dems 102, a group specifically formed to take back the seat. It was formed when Harriet Miller first ran. Her campaign is run by a young group of staffers and some very dedicated volunteers who come out of the NDD102 group. Get your facts straight before you start spreading “falsehoods”!

    If you want better out of Texas, elect a truely trustworthy, qualified person … that means elect Carol Kent. She will not sling mud or resort to dirty tricks to win and anyone who meets her can attest to that. Do some real fact checking about the extrodinary work she has done in the field of education and compare that to Tony’s stint as a teacher in a miniscule school many, many years ago.

  27. JBS says:

    FND – Your good buddy Tony Goolsby almost lost in 04 and 06. Look at the numbers. It is not out of reach of a challenger. Goolsby only held onto his seat in 06 due to using a lie to smear his opponent along with voter supression tactics in HD 102. For more details read this


    This whole thing is a set up just to smear Carol. Nobody I know thinks he is doing a good job, even Republicans. In fact, there is even a group out there called Republicans for Carol Kent. That is how dissatisfied people are with his mediocrity.

    One more question FND – when was the last time Goolsby held a Town Hall meeting for his constituents? Or actually agreed to debate his opponent? How come someone with his seniority in the majority party is only the chair of the House Furniture Committee?

  28. EM says:

    Not a chance! This is all fakery. I know Carol Kent personally. She and her husband are two of most MORAL people I know. This sounds like heresay and is obviously coming from the other camp — a camp whose morals have been questioned repeatedly in previous elections.

    But, what appalls me the most is the comments here. There are actually people who are saying they’d vote for Goolsby because he’s a “nice guy.” That’s not a reason to vote for someone! Doesn’t anyone think beyond the surface anymore?

    Look, plenty of people thought George W. Bush was a “nice guy” and look what that got you. “Nice guy” does not equal competent. And, based on the record of Tony Goolsby (a documented history of questionable campaign tactics), that nice guy image is just a poorly drawn mask to cover the REAL Tony Goolsby.

    People, look at the facts – which of these two candidates is being sued for defamation? Folks, it ain’t Carol.

  29. Better Journalism than this says:

    You were used. You should have called unbiased experts in TX House and politics, and you would have spared yourself embarrasment. You are being played like a fiddle just like the reporter from channel 11 last election cycle. Goolsby must not be polling well, and this is his first dirty trick of the campaign. I can smell his desperation. Please Tim, I have followed your media career, and at this level you have a responsibility to the community and truth, especially due to the shrinking number of reporters covering the Texas capital. Harvey Kronberg has already debunked this myth http://www.quorumreport.com click on Buzz

  30. Yo dude says:

    Sounds to me like Goolsby is taking advantage of the lack of skepticism of the public. It sounds to me that Goolsby is manufacturing a fake controversy so he can then criticize Kent for it.

    Kent, then, has to deny it, which leads credibility to the claim and if she doesn’t deny it then Kent can be attacked.

    Did Tim Rogers just get used?

    Lastly there have been claims of push polls in local races in the Metroplex that upon closer examination turned out not to be push polls. Might this be one of them?

  31. Mad voter says:

    Yes Tim, how dare you take the word of 65 year old Molly Potter who is suffering from multiple sclerosis. You never should believe a senior citizen! You know, they are all working with Republicans! I bet Karl Rove actually called her to arrange this! Tim, from now on, don’t trust anyone over 60!

  32. Diane Birdwell says:

    Tim– HAVE YOU ASKED Carol Kent? Have you been a JOURNALIST or a pawn? If the Indian didn’t know who Carol Kent was, how would he know who paid for it?

    Get off your seat and ask her campaign. Ask Goolsby’s as well. He smeared Harriet Miller two years ago and Channel 11 was stupid enough to fall for it. Be a little smarter.

    I am a teacher and an NEA officer. Goolsby has voted too often with ANTI-public education conservatives. In fact, he tried to make it look like MY union was supporting him in the last election. His full page ad said that TCTA–not TSTA had endorsed him. True. All true. But nobody knows TCTA. They are a non-player and have only a few thousand members compared to us.

    The smell test tells me that HIS buddies did it—but I am not a journalist.

    If you like your schools the way they are–vote for Tony. If you want someone who is in favor of adequately funding public schools and letting teachers teach, vote for Carol.

  33. Confused in N.Dallas says:

    I live in N. Dallas and I am currently undecided, and to be honest, I dont know what to believe amongst all these accusations. I can say that I have met with Mr. Goolsby on numerous occasions about my concerns and he has been more than receptive. He has not only been “nice”, but I have only known him to be honest and straight forward with me. Maybe to some, those are considered irrelevant, but to this voter, they matter.