Challenger: State lawmaker using Harvey to raise money

A Republican opponent of Texas House District 23 Rep. Wayne Faircloth is accusing the lawmaker of fund-raising off the Hurricane Harvey disaster. 

Mayes Middleton, president of Middleton Oil Co. and Wallisville resident, said leadership is needed in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, not political fund-raising.

“We have seen examples of leadership in our community as neighbors generously stepped forward to help neighbors in their time of desperate need. Like you, I expect similar leadership traits from our elected representatives. During this crisis, our elected officials should be servant leaders that prioritize the recovery of our community.”

Middleton said it is “despicable for any politician to use the misfortune of this tragedy to fundraise for a political campaign.”

Faircloth has a fund-raiser planned for Thursday in Austin. The email invite — titled “Re-elect Wayne Faircloth” — states in part that Faircloth’s fund-raising efforts “have been severely affected by this disaster and he is facing a self-financed opponent. Please consider making you most generous contribution to support our friend Wayne.” The fundraiser includes Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss as the special guest.

“Politicians complaining that their ‘fundraising efforts have been severely affected by this disaster’ is not leadership. This is politics at its worst,” Middleton stated. 

Middleton stated that he felt Faircloth’s efforts make the acts of good Samaritans, shelter volunteers, and dedicated first responders in our community “shine even brighter.”

“So many in Chambers and Galveston Counties have answered the call of neighbors helping neighbors and shown the world what it means to be a Texan in a time of pain and loss,” Middleton stated. 

Middleton said he and his wife, Macy, have assisted the community by working to provide relief to needy people. He said they have helped support the Chambers County Long Term Recovery Organization, Lighthouse Charity Team, and the Pregnancy & Parenting Support Center of Galveston County.

“We encourage all those in this community to do the same,” he stated. “I know the people of Chambers and Galveston Counties are strong, resilient, and charitable. Together, we will not just endure, but will rebuild and flourish. You can count on Macy and me being here for our community throughout the recovery in this time of need.”

Todd Olsen, a spokesman, for Faircloth’s campaign, responded to Middleton’s claims.  He said that fundraising for Harvey does not work at all into Faircloth’s fundraising plans. 

“It’s disappointing to see that Mayes Middleton is more concerned with politics rather than helping others,” Olsen said. “Since Hurricane Harvey, Rep. Faircloth has spent countless hours working to help our neighbors in need. Including collecting supplies, volunteering at shelters, stripping sheetrock for neighbors, hauling away flooded items for family and friends, coordinating state and local services, sharing important information via social media and offering a word of encouragement to whomever needed it.

“Mayes talks about leadership and throwing money around, while Wayne Faircloth defines leadership by working hard not only in Austin and but also back at home in Chambers and Galveston counties. Even though so many constituents have asked what they can do to help in Wayne’s campaign, he felt it best not to hold a fundraiser within the district at this time given that so many need to focus on themselves and their family. Now, more importantly in light of this day, Wayne Faircloth wishes to thank all the first responders for their hard work and dedication to their community and would hope that our opponent finds better things to do than worry about politics, particularly on this day.”

Faircloth was first elected to the state District 23 in 2014. 

In the recent 85th Legislative session, Faircloth serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism. He also serves on the House Committee on Land and Resource Management, Rules and Resolution Committee, and the Select House Committee on Texas Ports, Innovation & Infrastructure. In addition, Faircloth is the Chairman of the House Manufacturing Caucus and treasurer of the House Energy Caucus.

Candidates can’t officially file paperwork with the state until November.

The Republican primary election is March 6.