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Pro-Dewhurst Ad: Cruz Isn't a Conservative

But the claims don't deliver.

11:38 AM, May 15, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Texas Senate candidate David Dewhurst and his allies seem to be getting worried. Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor who was once ahead by 30 points, now leads his toughest challenger, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, by closer to 10 points just two weeks away from the May 29 primary. Now, a group called the Texas Conservatives Fund, a super PAC supporting Dewhurst, has a new ad questioning Cruz's conservative credentials. Watch below:

The claims that Cruz "opposed lower property taxes" back in 2006 when he was solicitor general. "'Lowering the cap is moving backwards,' said Cruz," the ad quotes a Houston Chronicle article. But a full reading of that article shows Cruz was actually arguing against a plan that would lower a property tax cap in exchange for raising business and sales taxes. Here's the context:

During last year's regular and two special sessions that failed to produce a school finance plan, lawmakers wanted to lower the cap of $1.50 per $100 valuation and replace the lost revenue with a new business tax and higher sales taxes. They also considered adding several billion dollars to the education budget for teacher pay raises and other programs.

Cruz reminded lawmakers that more than 300 school districts sued the state because they did not believe the Legislature had the political will to raise taxes in order to spend more on schools.

"Lowering the cap is moving backwards," he said. "The urge to lower taxes has the effect of constricting (school districts') discretion and what the lawsuit is about is expanding it."

Cruz actually seems to be arguing that lowering the cap would have restricted the freedom of local school districts--hardly a non-conservative position on education and local control.

The ad also questions Cruz as a conservative by citing the work his law firm did on behalf of a Chinese company (a new television ad from the Dewhurst campaign pushes the same story) and noting that the firm donated $200,000 to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.

What the Texas Conservatives Fund ad doesn't say is that Cruz's firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, employs over 1,300 lawyers in 24 offices around the world. Cruz himself, a self-professed conservative and Republican, did not donate to Obama's campaign.

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