Could a text message be the final plot twist in a decidedly swampy special election? If it’s viewed as coercion, the answer is, YES!
In September, Representative Drew Springer texted a prospective constituent (herself an elected official) withdrawing an offer of aid because she’d endorsed his opponent, the political up-start, anti-lockdown folk hero Shelley Luther.
Angel Hamm was introduced to Springer at a Labor Day rally, where according to Hamm, Springer was held out as a person who could help her deal with a Public Utility Commission stonewall.
A widow to the former mayor of New Hope, Hamm till November, led the town of about 700 where the placement of a proposed high voltage transmission line is being fought.
As Springer’s September text suggests, the current Representative courting a constituent agreed to help with the PUC problem. However, when he learned of Hamm’s Luther endorsement, he backed out, tying political activity to official state business in the process.
In addition to the terrible optics of picking on a widow, Springer denies previously committed help to hundreds of Texans, running afoul of constituent service norms, exposing himself to potential legal repercussions in the process.
A survey of several House offices indicates the behavior of withholding requested help to a political rival is not done. Revoking pledged assistance is unheard of, according to multiple interviews. Calls on constituent services were placed to the offices of Representatives Nicole Collier, James Frank, Matt Krause, Morgan Meyer, and Scott Sanford, among others.
All of the legislative offices reached for comment said they would not discriminate against a constituent on a political basis, whether that be a donation or endorsement of a rival candidate.
Presented with a fact pattern substantially similar to the circumstances laid out by Hamm, Representative Meyer’s office stated allegations of abuse are taken seriously and could lead to investigations in any number of venues.
Legal experts consulted on this matter advised that Springer may have violated multiple sections of state law, constituting a crime. Specifically, this could be an example of official oppression, coercion of a public official, and more broadly, the Texas Constitution’s bribery language.
Pattern of bullying
Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a Springer campaign characterized by a pattern of bullying behavior.
Current Senator of Senate District 30, Pat Fallon, was caught on video berating Shelley Luther in his role as a Springer surrogate.
Over the past year, Springer has spent a great deal of time with Fallon. The pair worked to move Fallon into Congress and handoff the Senate seat to Springer, a maneuver that’s been jeopardized by Luther.
An email to Springer’s office to gauge work done to date on the New Hope Public Utility Commission issue is pending.
Early voting in the Senate District 30 run-off starts today.