The Texas Observer has a piece out today on the race between incumbent State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, and Democratic challenger and Dallas attorney Julie Johnson. If there’s one takeaway, it’s that the hard-to-fathom call Rinaldi made last year to report a flood of mostly Hispanic protesters inside the Capitol building to ICE—protesters whose citizenship status he knew nothing of—will remain a central point of the race. If there’s two takeaways, it’s that Johnson has been able to ride the very deserved fallout from that call to a pretty good chunk of fundraising dollars, one reason Democrats view this seat as high-potential for a flip.
But if there’s a third, it’s that cops stand in stark, over-my-dead-body, not-in-a-million-years opposition to a Rinaldi re-election. I’ve got to give you this quote from Charley Wilkison, the executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, the largest police union in the state:
“There’s 7 billion people on planet Earth, and any one of them would come ahead of Matt Rinaldi for a CLEAT endorsement,” Wilkison tells the Observer.
Wilkison notes, as reasoning for such strong language, the bill Rinaldi authored on a new legal defense for resisting arrest charges, as well as his opposition to exempting police from jury duty and yelling at a CLEAT lobbyist. “He’s an angry, disgruntled human being who hates the police,” he tells the Observer.
CLEAT is not the only enemy Rinaldi seems to have racked up. His Republican predecessor, Bennett Ratliff, endorsed Johnson, as have the Texas Association of Business and the Dallas Police Association. Rinaldi asserts, within the piece, his strong support of the police. On the ICE issue, he maintains that his constituents view the call as “reasonable.” We’ll find out here in about a month and a half.