Leppert's name came up via the race to replace him as Dallas Mayor when candidate Mike Rawlings said his support of the Service Employees International Union was no different than the support it received from Leppert: Leppert was quick to try and distance himself because being associated with SEIU in any way, shape, or form is toxic or even a campaign ender in Texas. Here is how it was reported by Rudolph Bush in the Dallas Morning News:
Former Mayor Tom Leppert was pulled unwillingly into the race for Dallas (we corrected their misspelling) mayor today when Mike Rawlings noted that his pledge to support the Service Employees International Union was no different from a pledge Leppert made in 2007.That is a bit sticky for Leppert, who as you know, is now running from the hard-right to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.Leppert's campaign issued a statement trying to distance him from any pledge he may or not have signed in 2007 but stopped short of saying he didn't sign something endorsing SEIU."Tom would not sign anything supporting forced collective bargaining for all workers. He believes workers have a right to join a union if they choose, but more importantly, Tom has actively campaigned for workers' essential right to choose not to join a union if they don't want to by expanding Right to Work," said spokesman Shawn McCoy.But SEIU political coordinator Shannon Perez said today that there is plenty of information linking Leppert to support of the union. Details are forthcoming, she said."SEIU has ample evidence of Mr. Leppert's pursuit of our endorsement and his support for working men and women to have a voice at work," she said.Notice at the end it is a he said/she said kind of argument. He didn't seek it and they said he did. Problem for Leppert is they have evidence.
Now go to today's Dallas Morning News coverage and you find pictures of Leppert wearing an SEIU shirt, talking to SEIU members, and a letter to State Senator Royce West (D) in support of the union.
To paraphrase a line from the movie Backdraft, "that's your career (in this case campaign) dissipation light going off."
For a candidate that is already having to shake off criticisms that he is the Mitt Romney of Texas (I was liberal before I was conservative), news about him and the SEIU could potentially torpedo a campaign that's already taking on water, and fast.