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Some clear choices, some not, for Nov. 6


Most voters know well for whom they’ll vote on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot. Some have cast ballots early.

In some cases, choices are stark, especially at the top of the Texas ticket. Incumbent Greg Abbott, a Republican, and Lupe Valdez, the Democratic challenger, present clear contrasts in political outlooks and philosophy. They are polar opposites.

Valdez, who passed through Port Arthur on a bus tour last week, is an unabashed liberal. Abbott, who visited Port Neches this week, is a doctrinaire conservative.

So, too, do incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican, and U.S. Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, Democrat, both vying for Cruz’s Senate seat, present a clear choice to voters, which may be posed in a single question: Where did you stand on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination for the Supreme Court? Cruz voted yes, O’Rourke said he’d have voted no. That tells voters what they need to know.

The trick to weathering the Texas campaign and maintaining cordial work, family and friendly relations is to appreciate the candidates for whom they are and what they offer.

First, they offer you a clear choice. Second — this has great value — they offer you candid responses. You might not appreciate the other side’s political positions, but you can appreciate that the candidates offered their services and spoke plainly. They may not have earned your vote, but they should have earned your respect.

There are a few choices on the ballots that, for us, are made plain by our contact with the candidates. We offer you these insights on three unrelated matters:

  • Vote for Jeff Branick. The Jefferson County judge has provided thoughtful, conservative leadership while forcefully and effectively working to protect our Texas coastline. He is as gracious in person as he is politically, and, though faced with a stern challenge from veteran vote-getter Nick Lampson, has earned another term.
  • Vote “Against” on recalling Cross Coburn. The Groves councilman, just 18 at his election, committed a grievous political and personal blunder in sending risqué photos to a dating website. It’s hell to be a teenager. But Coburn has shown stubborn courage in remaining in his seat, trying to take a useful role, despite a cruel effort to oust him from office. He’s grown up during a brutal first year in politics. Council colleagues who’ve ganged up on him have done themselves no credit.
  • Vote “For” the purchase of student attendance credits. Ponder this: Your state government considers Port Arthur ISD to be a “wealthy” school district due to taxable income from nearby refineries. The system needs to “purchase” student attendance credits in order to reduce money it must send to the state. A “For” vote protects the system and won’t cost you anything; an “Against” vote might create financial havoc.