JOURNAL Border Blaster Claims Left Field Withdrawal of Jim Mattox from the May 1 special election for U.S. senator clears left field for Jose Angel Gutierrez, who hopes his Hispanic surname and his past as a founder of La Raza Unida, the Mexican-American political party that created a network of Tejano activists in the 1970s, will carry him at least into the runoff. Gutierrez predicted he would draw 80 percent of Mattox’s supporters. With the former attorney general out of the picture and Richard Fisher, a conservative Democrat from Dallas, launching a $2.5 million ad campaign, Gutierrez figures to benefit. “As soon as Fisher’s television stuff takes hold, Krueger is going to fall below me because Fisher’s campaign can only come at Krueger’s expense,” he reasoned. Gutierrez, a Dallas lawyer and onetime Zavala County judge, said a recent poll by Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign reportedly showed him with 12 percent support. A Hutchison campaign spokesman said the latest poll, which has not been made public, showed “substantial support” for Gutierrez, but not double-figure support. Meanwhile, Gutierrez has been airing ads on the “border blaster” stations in Piedras Negras and Juarez, as well as Tejano stations in San Antonio, Lubbock, Houston, Dallas, the Valley, Austin and at least one mainstream radio station, KRLD in Dallas, the preferred station of David Koresh. Approximately 60 percent of the ads are in Spanish and 40 percent are in English. Where Fisher, a wealthy businessman, expected to spend $1 million in his first wave of ads in Dallas and Fort Worth, Gutierrez had budgeted $30,000 for the radio spots, some of which cost as little as 50 cents each. Gutierrez believes the proposed constitutional amendment to allow for redistribution of school district resources will bring out many people, including Mexican Americans, who would not ordinarily come out to vote, which should help him. Asked about reports that then-President Richard Nixon’s notorious Committee to ReRaza Unida in an effort to weaken George McGovern’s Texas campaign in 1972, Gutierrez said, “It’s not true. It’s Republicans talking to Republicans saying I should be approached and the party should be offered money to hurt McGovern. It never happened; not to me. There are many investigations on the record and none of that stuff ever came out and 20-some years later if any of that impropriety or stuff had gone on I would have been indicted long ago.” At a March 14 rally that attracted about 50 people in predominantly Hispanic East Austin, Gutierrez offered no apologies for his exploits with La Raza, which included controversial expressions of admiration for Fidel Castro after a 1975 trip to Cuba. “We said being Chicano was OK. We said if you didn’t like the way we were … you had a problem. And the commentary about Fidel Castro’s program was specifically linked to health care and agriculture,” he said. “We were amazed that the Cuban economy was able to sustain a national program of health care and a comprehensive cradle-to-grave education program for their people: Two programs that today we’re discussing in our country, almost 20 years later. In other words, for the first time, we’re saying in this country that access to health care is a right. Even today as we speak, health care to too many of us is a privilege. So I wear those merit badges proudly. Sometimes we’ve been thought of as out of step, but not in the wrong direction, we’ve been in the forward direction, ahead of the pack.” He then listed some of the favorite “lies” he hears about his candidacy: You came too late. “If they would have told me they were about to fix the anointment of Robert Krueger I would have come up earlier. Nobody told me there was a fix going on.” We’re afraid you’re going to take votes away from Krueger. “You’re damn right. That’s the idea,” he said, to applause from the crowd. We’re afraid you’re going to help elect. a Republican. “The Democratic Party already appointed him. He’s the closet Republican they already got as a temporary senator. He’s no different than John Connally was or Phil Gramm was or Kent Hance was.” In an open election, with at least 23 candidates in a freefor-all election, he is the only Mexican American. “There are not enough white votes in this state to go around,” he said. “That’s the new Texas reality…. I can see clearly that this election is about bloc voting and this election is no different from any other election. Raza should vote for Raza.” You got no chance. Gutierrez believes he can at least double the base Mexican-American vote, which he figures is a quarter-million. “We have begun not only to solidify La Raza bloc vote, but have begun to move over a significant number of disaffected, disconnected voters that also are not represented by the Democratic Party. Because what we all have in common is nonrepresentation…. “Ever since the early days of the Reagan revolt, labor and liberals began to decline and began to hide behind anyplace they could find. Nobody wanted to be a liberal. Nobody wanted to be a part of organized labor. We get blamed for everything. So these are groups that are disconnected and disaffected and are beginning to find an opportunity this time around,” he said. He proposes a Marshall Plan-style reinvestment in the states that border Mexico to treat chronic unemployment and health and housing problems. He also supports renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with a bill of rights for workers and provisions for collection of delinquent child support across the border. Gutierrez has received the endorsement of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Dallas, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and East Texas; Fuerza Unida, the organization of displaced Levi Strauss workers in San Antonio; and individual officeholders, including state Rep. Roberto Alonso, D-Dallas, state chair of the Mexican American Democrats; state Rep. Mario Gallegos, DHouston; Rep. Ron Wilson, D-Houston; Travis County Commissioner Marcos DeLeon, an ally from La Raza Unida days; Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Al Lipscomb; and Lubbock City Councilman T.J. Patterson. Jaime Martinez, secretary-treasurer for IUE District 11, which covers 23 states, including Texas, said the endorsement was in part a protest against Krueger’s record on labor issues, despite the Texas AFL-CIO endorsement. “Krueger’s record has not been in the best interest of working men and women,” Martinez said, citing Krueger’s votes as a congressman against labor on issues such as food stamps for striking workers, onsite picketing and repeal of the “right to work” law, as well as his mixed record on environmental and human services issues. Gutierrez has assured the union he will be an advocate of working people. “Gutierrez is for fair trade, not just trading our jobs away,” Martinez said. Gutierrez planned to file the petitions to put his name on the ballot March 15, only to find that the the Secretary of State’s office had given him old forms that did not include spaces for zip codes, which are required for the 6,116 signatures, as well as voter registration numbers, which his workers failed to obtain. Gutierrez said his workers would go back and look up the information and return with the completed petitions by March 25 in lieu of the $5,000 filing fee. J.C. 8 MARCH 26, 1993
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