Why There are No Travis Griffith Endorsements


OPINION — Seemingly daily, we receive an endorsement for Mike Hernandez for police chief. The list of community leaders endorsing the San Angelo Police Department lieutenant is long and varied, from business leaders to law enforcement leaders. The runoff election is June 15, 2024. Early voting is June 3-7 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and June 10-11 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Keyes Building, 113 W Beauregard Ave.

Many weeks ago, we invited all supporters of the various candidates to submit personal endorsements to us and promised to run them all. All I can recall is a single endorsement for Travis Griffith submitted to us, written by Tom Green County Republican Chairman Bruce Burkett. We have received over 20 endorsements for Mike Hernandez, including:

This is a healthy string of endorsements. Certainly there is someone besides the ailing GOP county chair who will endorse Griffith for police chief. But maybe not. We were told Griffith instead likes to post his endorsements on Facebook, avoiding San Angelo LIVE!

Several weeks ago before the police chief race heated up, we were presented with a proposition. A Griffith donor said he was asked by Griffith's campaign finance chairman Rob Watkins to forgo that donor's traditional contribution and instead present $500 cash to San Angelo LIVE! In return, we were asked to support the Griffith campaign (or "advertise it"). We declined the offer. If Griffith wanted to purchase advertising, we had already presented him options — the same options all other candidates received. That donor's $500 contribution that we declined later appeared on the Griffith campaign finance report.

Hernandez made a large advertising purchase on San Angelo LIVE! prior to the May 4 City Election. Griffith did not. While the ads were running, we were constantly asked why San Angelo LIVE! was "in the bag for Mike Hernandez." We weren't. One candidate made a large ad buy and the same offer was extended to Griffith, who declined any size ad campaign.

Indeed, we intentionally gave access to San Angelo LIVE! to all of the candidates, regardless of ad purchase size. Publisher Joe Hyde interviewed each of the three candidates and allowed each to present their platform. We did not change the interviewer because this could have provided one candidate or the other to claim favoritism. Our Police Chief Debate held in the Sugg Room and broadcasted over the internet was as fair as we could make it. We did not play games or exhibit favoritism.

Similarly, we publish all letters of endorsement. Griffith's campaign chooses not to present any to us.

The Griffith campaign, unable to buy special access from us, has instead embarked upon a progressive Leftist strategy popularized by Saul Alinsky in his 1971 book, Rules for Radicals. He is using Rule #13: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

We are the target. His campaign has personalized it and made San Angelo LIVE! a polarizing news source, which is something we had hoped to avoid.

Rob Watkins, who is running the Griffith campaign, is very smart and competitive. As a Chick Fil A franchiser, for years he operated the busiest drive-thru for Chick Fil A in the nation on Sherwood Way — in little 'ol San Angelo! He is building a political empire under the noses of San Angelo voters while the Griffith campaign is decrying the influence of the "Good 'Ol Boys." Watkins elected County Judge Lane Carter. He's close to electing his own police chief. His son-in-law Preston Wimberly who is a partner at San Angelo To Go and the Bodega on College Hills has expressed interest in running for mayor. "But I need to learn more about the political process," he said. He is running the Griffith sign operation out of the local Chick Fil A corporate office on Park Street, according to witnesses.

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Nice list of well to doers. I guess we will see what the tax paying working man wants after the runoff.   

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