Republican lobbyist, ethics adviser challenges Sid Miller in primary


Highlights

Trey Blocker said Sid Miller is “a career politician embroiled in ethical controversies.”

Miller said Blocker “doesn’t know jack-diddly about Texas agriculture.”

Austin lobbyist and ethics adviser Trey Blocker announced Wednesday that he is running against Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in the Republican primary.

“He’s given thousands of dollars to the Texas Democrat Party and been a campaign consultant for liberal Democrats, so I figured he’d file with them,” Miller said. “But I guess that’s what you do when you’re a low-level lobbyist mired in the Capitol swamp.”

Miller has drawn criticism over the three years he’s been in office for divisive social media posts, including tweeting falsehoods and remarks considered insensitive toward women and minority groups; instituting rate hikes for many services his agency provides; taking state-paid trips for personal reasons; and hiring the wife of his longtime political consultant to a new, high-paid position. That woman left the agency after the Statesman began asking questions.

Miller also scrapped an effort this year to introduce a new poison for feral hogs, amid strong opposition from hunters and environmentalists.

RELATED: Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller shares suicide ‘joke’ on Facebook

Miller said in a statement that he’s surprised Blocker is challenging him as a Republican.

Blocker explained to the American-Statesman that being a lobbyist for the last 10 years, he donated to both Democrats and Republicans “as part of my business.” Blocker said his philosophical views don’t align with Democrats’ and that he has contributed more to Republicans. And during his time as a legislative staffer, Blocker only had Republican bosses, he said.

Blocker said he comes from generations of Texas cattle ranchers and has spent his career “representing agriculture interests, so I know quite a bit about agriculture.”

Miller, a competitive calf roper, was dismissive of Blocker’s agriculture credentials.

“Trey Blocker doesn’t know jack-diddly about Texas agriculture,” Miller added in his statement.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Dawnna Dukes campaign racks up $730,000 in debt as challengers rise
Dawnna Dukes campaign racks up $730,000 in debt as challengers rise

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ re-election campaign is off to a rocky start, as the veteran Democrat has accrued more than $730,000 in outstanding loans, raised just $2,250 in recent months and has lost two dozen past supporters who have flipped their allegiance to former Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole, one of Dukes’ five primary challengers...
How a government shutdown would affect Austin
How a government shutdown would affect Austin

If the federal government shuts down this weekend, most local services won’t be affected immediately, multiple state and federal officials told the American-Statesman. In Austin, “core city services” wouldn’t be affected by a shutdown, but officials haven’t conducted a thorough review, spokesman David Green said. Officials...
TRAFFIC ALERT: Big rig crash snarls traffic on Interstate 35 in North Austin
TRAFFIC ALERT: Big rig crash snarls traffic on Interstate 35 in North Austin

A crash on Interstate 35 near Grand Avenue Parkway in North Austin has traffic snarled in both directions on Thursday afternoon.  The Texas Department of Transportation said a big rig hit the center median on the highway and broke through into oncoming lanes. TxDOT cameras show that at least one other car appears to have been involved. Three southbound...
Lockdown lifted at LBJ High School after report of gun on campus, no weapon found, district says
Lockdown lifted at LBJ High School after report of gun on campus, no weapon found, district says

2:46 p.m. update: Austin school district officials said no weapon was found on the LBJ High School campus after a roughly 30-minute lockdown on Thursday. 2:20 p.m. update: LBJ High School lifted the lockdown at the Northeast Austin campus at 2:12 p.m. Thursday, Austin school district officials said. Earlier: A report of a gun on the campus of LBJ Early...
Democrat Lupe Valdez discusses taxes, guns, immigration
Democrat Lupe Valdez discusses taxes, guns, immigration

Six weeks into her run for Texas governor, Democrat Lupe Valdez said Thursday that she is still formulating specific policies but laid out general principles that will guide her on immigration, taxes, guns and other issues. Valdez also defended her lackluster fundraising after her campaign reported collecting only $46,000 in the last 3½ weeks...
More Stories