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BY DAVE MANN Wrath of the Soccer Moms How a group of parents took on Tom Craddick and the state’s Republican leadership FEATURE Imi ast September, Carolyn Boyle approached one of Texas’ leading Republican campaign consultants about working with her on an innovative political project. A former public relations executive and longtime advocate for public schools, Boyle was part of a small group of disgruntled Parent Teacher Association members who thought it was time to change the way politics worked in this state. They were deeply concerned about public schools, but felt that whenever they went to the Legislature, the political leadership ignored what the PTA and other education groups had to say about school finance policy. Fed up with the dismis sive treatment, Boyle and her platoon of self-described soccer moms decided to take up arms against House Speaker Tom bers of his leadership team in the Republican primary. They had formed their own political action committee, the Texas Parent PAC. Now they were looking for someone with the logistical expertise to help them run a political campaign. But the GOP operatives whom Boyle contacted refused to work with them for fear of angering Craddick. The leading consultant responded with a pithy e-mail: Any attack on incumbent Republican House members was a fool’s errand. Stick to simply lobbying at the Capitol. Essentially, know your place. 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 24, 2006