Pauken holds court in Horseshoe Bay
August 22, 2013, 9:00 pm by Miles Smith
Facing a candidate with a campaign bank account that already
contains more than $20 million, underdog 2014 Republican gubernatorial
candidate Tom Pauken said Wednesday night that he was in a battle for the soul of the Republican Party.
Pauken’s comments came Wednesday night in Horseshoe Bay at Quail Point Lodge, where he enumerated the differences between his grassroots effort to defeat "crony capitalism” and leftist ideology and that of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whom he lumped in with career politicians that "don’t understand the fight.”
The 68-year-old is challenging Abbott for the 2014 Texas GOP gubernatorial nomination and faces an uphill climb going against a candidate with a $23 million campaign bank account and backing by Gov. Rick Perry and other Austin party insiders.
But the former Texas Republican party chairman, businessman and former Reagan administration employee with a noted distaste for career politicians said his campaign is picking up steam, and insists he has a fighting chance against Abbott, who he characterized as a classic example of a "big government” official.
"I need to raise about $2 million to have a chance to win this race,” Pauken said before taking the podium. "I’ve already raised a few hundred thousand, and this past month has been the best yet for raising money.”
Pauken said his latest beef against Abbott was his involvement in an antitrust lawsuit with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice Department filed last week to block a merger between Arizona-based U.S. Airways and American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth.
The merged company would have been headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"He has joined the Obama administration in trying to block this merger,” said Pauken. "It’s baffling to me. I don’t know why he’s doing it, but it’s not in Texas’s best interest.”
Pauken said American Airlines was "critical to the economy in North Texas,” and insisted that the merger, which many believe would allow many employed by the company to retain their jobs, was not an antitrust violation because there were numerous other players in the airline business. He said he asked Abbott to reverse field and join him in fighting the suit, but had received no response.
"I’m totally baffled. It’s just another example of going in the wrong direction,” Pauken said.
For the full story, see the weekend edition of The Highlander.
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