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Negative Nortey makes for truculent Travillion

Friday, February 26, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Koch fight in the Travis County Commissioners Court Precinct 1 race escalated on Thursday when Jeff Travillion’s campaign manager, Mykle Tomlinson, sent out an email blast – with the subject line, “Don’t be a Negative Nortey” – that accused his fellow Democrat James Nortey of carrying out “deceitful attacks.” On Wednesday, Nortey’s campaign sent out an email pointing out that one of Travillion’s largest donors is a registered lobbyist who works for several subsidiaries of Koch Industries, the company run by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch. Travillion also responded on Wednesday with a short message in which he dismissed the attempt to tie him to the Koch brothers as “baseless.” Tomlinson’s message on Thursday was a bit more toothsome, however. “I understand that in Travis County the last stop for a failing campaign is to try and tie your opponent to the Koch brothers,” Tomlinson wrote before soliciting donations for the final days of the campaign. He went on to deflect any concern that transitive association with Koch Industries money besmirches Travillion’s green cred: “Jeff is the environmentalist in this race — James is not. If you look at James’ contributors, you would think that he is bought and sold by local developers and people who want to take away from our public, independent school districts.” Nortey’s campaign manager, Nick Hudson, sent a statement to the Austin Monitor that read, “For a second day in a row Mr. Travillion has gone on the attack while refusing to explain why a lobbyist for the Koch Brothers is one of his biggest campaign contributors. We look forward to learning more with voters about Jeff Travillion and his lucrative relationship with the registered Koch lobbyist.” While Travillion has yet to personally confirm it, Roy Waley of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, a group that endorsed Travillion, told the Monitor that Travillion and Bill Miller – the donor in question – are old friends, a claim backed up on Thursday by David Foster of Clean Water Action, another Travillion endorser.

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