Texas GOPer won a school election with CCDF's church-cheating, 6 PPP-collecting, criminal campaign manager. It's important to understand how.
Recognize the game. But also recognize that if you don't make the David Hamiltons of the world own the James Dunns of the world, you'll give *both* power over you and your children.
Learn all about Texas-based criminal campaign consultant James Dunn, who is running the campaigns of a slate of Polk County, Florida school board candidates, in this article below.
Republican David Hamilton of Fort Bend, Texas proves a person can win a School Board election with 49 percent of the vote even if that person hires a convicted felon, church-cheating, court-defying, 6-PPP-loan collecting grifter to run his campaign.
Criminal and church-defrauding GOP campaign operative James Dunn ran Hamilton’s campaign for “trustee” of the Fort Bend Independent School District, which Hamilton narrowly won on May 7, 2022.
You’ll be shocked to learn that Hamilton and Dunn mostly made news in that race for sending gross tweets.
I’ve been trying to contact Hamilton, unsuccessfully thus far, to talk about his relationship with Dunn. I want to know whether Hamilton knew Dunn was enjoying $311,000 in free federal government PPP money and defying a court order to pay the Houston church Dunn cheated while he was running Hamilton’s campaign.
I’m getting the same silence from Hamilton that I get from the so-called County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF), the Florida-based hate group that brought Dunn to my county.
The CCDF’s Polk School Board candidates — Terry Clark, Jill Sessions, Rick Nolte — all of whom profess to be running on “Christian” values or something, are just as silent as Hamilton about hiring a guy who openly defrauded a Christian church and is refusing a court order to make amends.
CCDF silence = weakness and fear
Before I broke the church story, the CCDF said this about Dunn in a July 14th statement:
We believe that this sets a wonderful example for the minority community of redemption and success coming out of our correctional system.
It’s been abject radio silence since then. Hannah Peterson and Steve Maxwell continue to ignore my email requests for comment. Here are my latest efforts. They’re kinda funny.
Here are texts I sent to “Christian” CCDF candidate Terry Clark last Sunday, the Lord’s Day, to which I got no answer. First:
Terry as you prepare for church today, I’d still like your statement as to why you’re OK with your campaign manager defrauding a Houston church in 2019-20 and now actively defying a court order to pay the church.
Would you like to speak to Bishop Thompson at the Houston church Dunn cheated? I can likely connect you.
You really have no statement about your campaign manager cheating a church and defying — right now — two court orders to pay up?
Dunn lost a civil trial in August 2021, then lost his appeal, and is under an active court order to pay the church $21,293. As of a couple days ago, he had not paid. This refusal to pay comes despite the fact that six Dunn “companies” received a total of $311,000 in free PPP money from the federal government.
The public has to be told, repeatedly, by everybody
There are several explanations for why a person can win an election despite hiring a convicted felon, church-cheating, court-defying, 6-PPP-loan collecting grifter to run his campaign.
None of those reasons mean that 49 percent of the people of Fort Bend are evil or supporters of criminal/grifter behavior. And those reasons are important to consider in the framework of any individual election.
That’s because James Dunn’s Polk County, Florida clients — the CCDF’s unofficial slate of Jill Sessions, Terry Clark, and Rick Nolte — could win their School Board elections, despite hiring a convicted felon, church-cheating, court-defying, 6-PPP-loan collecting grifter to run their gross campaigns.
I don’t think they will; but I’ve been wrong before. This is an extremely difficult political era to predict.
The number one reason hiring James Dunn didn’t destroy David Hamilton’s campaign is that nobody — not media, not law enforcement, not candidates, not union members — made Hamilton account for it, repeatedly, endlessly.
Nobody made him own Dunn.
Nobody — not even rival candidates — relentlessly branded Hamilton as the guy who hired a convicted felon, church-cheating, court-defying, 6-PPP-loan collecting grifter to run his campaign. I’m the first person to do it.
Make bad people own being bad, even if confrontation makes you uncomfortable
Now, that’s mostly because I doubt anyone except Dunn — including Hamilton — knew about Dunn’s church-cheating, court-defying, 6-PPP-loan collecting habits. We’re breaking that news here.
Dunn’s convicted felon status for defrauding veterans, people with disabilities, and the federal government, was less obscure. It’s unclear if anyone knew.
We do not have that problem in Polk County now. With the help of some amazing crowd-sourced research, we have made the full scope of Dunn’s known criminality and grifting public. That’s a great public accomplishment. Good for us.
But just reporting something outrageous a few times amongst the people you know doesn’t mean it remotely reaches the public consciousness enough to affect natural voting habits and patterns.
People with an interest in decent public life must realize that decency does not enforce itself. You can’t rely on timid, self-dealing institutions or law enforcement to do it for you. I mean, if the CCDF and this era prove anything, it’s that the malevolent crazy will take whatever space you give it. If confrontation makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself if answering to James Dunn makes you more uncomfortable.
The CCDF and hangers-on are not powerful or smart or formidable in any way. They are deeply vulnerable to counter-attack. Folks on the ground here have proven that by successfully pushing them out of the public space they invaded more than a year ago.
But if you want to salt the civic soil from which they grew with their political ashes — as I do — you have to realize they could still luck up and win School Board seats. Confronting them relentlessly is the best — and most satisfyingly enjoyable — way to neuter them.
Flamboyant Sheriff Grady Judd starts to take a positive side in the down-low Polk GOP civil war voters know nothing about
The number one reason the CCDF criminal slate could win is confusion among Polk’s casual Republican voters in a Republican-leaning county.
Polk’s casual, normal GOP voters do not know or understand that an insane wing has taken control of the branded local apparatus of the party. And that there’s a kind of quiet civil war between the actual Republicans with civic power — Grady Judd, Barney Barnett, the elected officials, etc — and the J.C. Martins and Ed Shoemakers of the world, who are big fans of the Jan. 6 Capitol Lynch mob and assorted crazy criminality.
Here’s local Polk Republican Chair J.C. Martin with criminal Roger Stone …
Here is Republican Party state committeeman Ed Shoemaker, praising James Dunn.
I cannot overstate to you how much contempt “normal” Republicans with civic power have in private for J.C. Martin, Ed Shoemaker, and the rest of anti-social fringe that has taken over the local party apparatus.
But private is meaningless and cowardly. Sorry, it just is. Complaining about them and mocking them in private when they try to carry the GOP banner in public is meaningless and cowardly.
And when these clowns try to push a criminal-guided slate of school candidates on the people of Polk County using GOP-branded stuff — and the Grady Judds and Barney Barnetts and Scott Franklins and Bill Mutzes and Sam Killebrews don’t aggressively confront them — one can understand why casual GOP voters, who know nothing about this civil war, would just vote GOP out of habit.
Fortunately, there are some encouraging signs: traditional Republican-dominated business groups like the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and local realtors have endorsed strong, moral incumbent board members Lisa Miller and Sarah Fortney against their criminal slate challengers. It’s the obvious, only choice; but it’s also welcome. There’s no meaningful financial support for the criminal slate from big GOP money, which means they are limited in their ability to carry the GOP banner at all.
And Sheriff Grady Judd himself, who is truly the leader of the Polk GOP and could squash the CCDF and criminal slate at any time, is showing signs of both taking positive sides in this underground civil war and laying down some rules about what happens and won’t happen even if the CCDF criminal slate manages to win.
I’ll detail that in a future article. But it’s welcome.
These “positive” developments are only happening because of the grassroots pressure of Polk County’s civic “libs,” who are not only “owning” the CCDF and its criminal slate, but making that criminal slate own James Dunn.